1929 - April 11, 2015 Nina died today. She had planned to be immortal but sometimes things just don't work out. She was the eldest of three girls and spent most of her life trying to convince her sisters of her own superiority vis-a-vis them. It was a hard fought battle across 8 decades that resulted in many skirmishes, rolled eyes, and "I told you so." She met a man and eloped but upon returning was told she would have to have a "real" wedding so that people would know that she was "not that kind of girl." Money was wasted on a formal white dress and society was spared any pretend shame. After she married, they relocated to a sunny southern clime and hoped to enjoy life. Unfortunately her mother-in-law also relocated which naturally dashed those dreams. Nina had two children who were the most intelligent, caring, wonderful children in the world, except those times when they weren't. She got divorced because that was what all the cool kids were doing in the 1970's. Then she married some other guy (whose mother was already dead) and moved again. She worked, lived her life and got on with things. When she got diagnosed with terminal cancer she decided to just let nature take its course. Surprisingly, she didn't die quickly as was expected. She lived for several years mystifying all of the doctors. No one had a medical explanation so one doctor sort of gestured to the heavens and she shot him down right away. Nina was an atheist and she wasn't going to let some fantasy sky god get the credit for a mystery of medicine. Besides, they were in an exam room so the doctor wasn't gesturing to the heavens but rather to the recessed florescent lighting above. Even adamant believers don't think their god resides inside industrial lighting. So, I would say "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust" except for two things: 1) That sounds a bit biblical and as I stated Nina would not approve of that. 2) Many years ago I took a biology class and when they talked about conception and birth there was no mention of ashes. Perhaps it should be "Ova to ashes." The end.
Published in Los Angeles Times from Apr. 14 to Apr. 18, 2015.