11:04:06 pm on
Tuesday 23 Oct 2018

A Joyous Remembrance
AJ Robinson

On Saturday, last, we said goodbye to my other brother, my brother-in-law, Dan. I wrote of him last time. It was a very special celebration; we were expressing joy at the journey that was his life.


Friends and family gathered for the send off.

For many years, Dan lived in the same house at the end of a short cul-de-sac (above). He was a friend to all his neighbours. It was at one of their homes that we all met and it was a good showing.

So many friends, so many wonderful memories and so many good feelings exist for Dan. We all brought something to share. As Dan and his friends were quite the free spirits, there was also an abundance of marijuana, both of the smoke-able variety and baked into food.

Dan was also there. We had his ashes in an urn that Jo Ann had made and decorated. Someone made a nice little plaque made up for him. It had a simple message: “Ralph Daniel de la Osa Son – Brother – Friend”

That said it all. Once the crowd was gathered, people began to speak of Dan. They shared stories of Dan, of what a good fellow he was, the antics of his life and how he was always there for someone when they needed him. Finally, it was Jo’s turn to speak and she had a stack of small cards with her thoughts outlined.

Jo Ann, his sister and my wife, had much to say. She spoke of Dan leading the way when it came to being a free spirit in the family, which gave her the strength to do likewise. There were the stories of his youth, such climbing the tree next to their farm in upstate New York and being too scared to come back down. Their mom had to go up and get him. Those gathered roared with laughter and then, of course, came the tears as we remembered his final days. He was sick, yet strong; his friends and family stood by him through everything.


There were many, many tears.

I wanted to speak, too. I came up with a variation of the old, “Do not stand at my grave and weep,” poem. I figured Dan deserved his own tailor-made write-up. The first draft came out to be,

Do not stand at my grave and pout
what’s the matter with you? Go on, get out!
I am a thousand voices angry and hot,
calling on government to legalize pot.
I am the sunlight on ripening weed,
waiting for you to gather each bud and seed.
When you get stoned and pass out in a hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush,
of THC in a cannabis reefer.
I am the soft feel of a joint in your hand, ah, what a keeper!
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
So, grab a glass and let’s hoist a few,
to the best goddamn guy I ever knew!

Jo Ann pointed out that there was more to Dan than just the fight to legalize marijuana. I did a re-write, and tried to broaden the poem to incorporate more elements of his life. I came up with the following,

Do not stand at my grave and pout
what’s the matter with you? Go on, get out!
I am a thousand voices joyous and free,
of friends and family talking with glee.
I am the sunlight on ripening weed,
waiting for you to gather each bud and seed.
When you hang wallpaper and need a friend,
I’ll be there, on that you can depend.

When children go off and climb some trees,
my laughter is carried on the summer breeze.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
So, grab a glass and let’s hoist a few,
to the best goddamn guy I ever knew!

Everyone liked my poem. Later that day, we had eaten well, shared our stories and our tears, we headed home. It had been a great party, a joyous celebration and exactly how Dan would have wanted us remember him.


Dan Variety weed.

Lastly, there was the need to decide what to do with his ashes. I thought sprinkling them across a nice crop of marijuana was appropriate. It could lead to a new strain; we could call it the “Dan Variety.” It would mean that we could all essentially smoke Dan; wouldn’t he just love that. Jo Ann said that there was a place very special to him, the Suwannee River in Georgia. It was where he and his friends had gone on many camping trips and so it was where he wanted to rest.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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