please don’t bury me


Heroes album cover
Image via Wikipedia

My big brother Bruce died from a brain aneurysm on February 12, 2008.


His actual date of death is February 13 because he was kept alive to harvest his organs. When I was little, Bruce turned me on to a funny little song called “Please Don’t Bury Me” by John Prine. It’s about a man who, like my brother, woke up and died in the morning. In the song, the man’s only wish was for someone to  “cut me up” and pass around.

After all, what use is a man in the ground when someone can use his parts? He donated his corneas which lends truth to Prine’s line, “the blind can have my eye.” His donated his kidney to a 26-year-old man who waited 13 years since he was 13 years old (making Bruce’s actual date of death of February 13 even more fitting). Bruce passed around more parts helping dozens of people.

More lyrics fit Bruce so well such as “Give my stomach to Milwaukee if they run out of beer.” They buried him next to our granddaddy in Kentucky which fulfills the line, “Send my mouth way down south.” And the very last line would send Bruce into a fit of infectious giggles: “Kiss my ass goodbye.”

Bruce shares his date of death with the great outlaw country artist, Waylon Jennings, who passed on February 13, 2002. Jennings sang a line in the song “Highwayman” which will always lend me comfort in my brother’s passing: They buried me in that great tomb that knows no sound But I am still around. I’ll always be around..and around and around and around and around. Rest in peace, Boo-Boo.





One comment

  1. Lynne Bolinger · October 30, 2009

    Love this. Sorry about your brother. I figure organ donation is a lot like writing….it gives us a chance at practical immortality.

    Imagine, giving the blind a chance to see!


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