People don't realize what they had till it's gone. Like President Kennedy, there was no one like him, the Beatles, and my man Elvis Presley. I was the Elvis of boxing.
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People don’t realize what they had till it’s gone. Like President Kennedy, there was no one like him, the Beatles, and my man Elvis Presley. I was the Elvis of boxing.

-Muhammad Ali

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My route, Sior Francis—and don't be surprised when you hear it—my route when I set out to find God... was... laziness. Yes, laziness. If I wasn't lazy I would have gone the way of respectable, upstanding people. Like everyone else I would have studied a trade—cabinet-maker, weaver, mason—and opened a shop; I would have worked all day long, and where then would I have found time to search for God? I might as well be looking for a needle in a haystack: that's what I would have said to myself. All my mind and thoughts would have been occupied with how to earn my living, feed my children, how to keep the upper hand over my wife. With such worries, curse them, how could I have the time, or inclination, or the pure heart needed to think about the Almighty?But by the grace of God I was born lazy. To work, get married, have children, and make problems for myself were all too much trouble. I simply sat in the sun during winter and in the shade during summer, while at night, stretched out on my back on the roof of my house, I watched the moon and the stars. And when you watch the moon and the stars how can you expect your mind not to dwell on God? I couldn't sleep any more. Who made all that? I asked myself. And why? Who made me, and why? Where can I find God so that I may ask Him? Piety requires laziness, you know. It requires leisure—and don't listen to what others say. The laborer who lives from hand to mouth returns home each night exhausted and famished. He assaults his dinner, bolts his food, then quarrels with his wife, beats his children without rhyme or reason simply because he's tired and irritated, and afterwards he clenches his fists and sleeps. Waking up for a moment he finds his wife at his side, couples with her, clenches his fists once more, and plunges back into sleep.... Where can he find time for God? But the man who is without work, children, and wife thinks about God, at first just out of curiosity, but later with anguish.

-Nikos Kazantzakis

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Instructions for Dad.I don't want to go into a fridge at an undertaker's. I want you to keep me at home until the funeral. Please can someone sit with me in case I got lonely? I promise not to scare you.I want to be buried in my butterfly dress, my lilac bra and knicker set and my black zip boots (all still in the suitcase that I packed for Sicily). I also want to wear the bracelet Adam gave me.Don't put make-up on me. It looks stupid on dead people.I do NOT want to be cremated. Cremations pollute the atmosphere with dioxins,k hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide. They also have those spooky curtains in crematoriums.I want a biodegradable willow coffin and a woodland burial. The people at the Natural Death Centre helped me pick a site not for from where we live, and they'll help you with all the arrangements.I want a native tree planted on or near my grave. I'd like an oak, but I don't mind a sweet chestnut or even a willow. I want a wooden plaque with my name on. I want wild plants and flowers growing on my grave.I want the service to be simple. Tell Zoey to bring Lauren (if she's born by then). Invite Philippa and her husband Andy (if he wants to come), also James from the hospital (though he might be busy).I don't want anyone who doesn't know my saying anything about me. THe Natural Death Centre people will stay with you, but should also stay out of it. I want the people I love to get up and speak about me, and even if you cry it'll be OK. I want you to say honest things. Say I was a monster if you like, say how I made you all run around after me. If you can think of anything good, say that too! Write it down first, because apparently people often forget what they mean to say at funerals.Don't under any circumstances read that poem by Auden. It's been done to death (ha, ha) and it's too sad. Get someone to read Sonnet 12 by Shakespeare.Music- "Blackbird" by the Beatles. "Plainsong" by The Cure. "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw. "All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands" by Sufian Stevens. There may not be time for all of them, but make sure you play the last one. Zoey helped me choose them and she's got them all on her iPod (it's got speakers if you need to borrow it).Afterwards, go to a pub for lunch. I've got £260 in my savings account and I really want you to use it for that. Really, I mean it-lunch is on me. Make sure you have pudding-sticky toffee, chocolate fudge cake, ice-cream sundae, something really bad for you. Get drunk too if you like (but don't scare Cal). Spend all the money.And after that, when days have gone by, keep an eye out for me. I might write on the steam in the mirror when you're having a bath, or play with the leaves on the apple tree when you're out in the garden. I might slip into a dream.Visit my grave when you can, but don't kick yourself if you can't, or if you move house and it's suddenly too far away. It looks pretty there in the summer (check out the website). You could bring a picnic and sit with me. I'd like that.OK. That's it.I love you.Tessa xxx

-Jenny Downham

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