Tuesday, August 30, 2016

We Are All Terminal - What To Do About It - Why Was Fred So Tired?

Why are there gates around cemetaries? 

Because people are dying to get in. 

“To lament that we shall not be alive a hundred years hence, is the same folly as to be sorry we were not alive a hundred years ago,” Montaigne observed in the sixteenth-century. 

“The greatest dignity to be found in death is the dignity of the life that preceded it,” the late surgeon and bioethicist Sherwin Nuland wrote half a millennium later. He might have added that it is rare that a guy with a name like "Sherwin" ever lives or dies.  

Oliver Sacks after finding out that he has a terminal illness:

"I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.

I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers.

Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure."

What do we say?

שוב יום אחד לפני מיתתך. We all have a terminal condition called "life", we never know when it will end and all we can do is not waste a second of the great gift of life [terminal as it is] and try to fix all of our mistakes.

But primarily - to fill the world with the glorious light of our unique neshamos.  

And to conclude with a smile [we must laugh even though we know that we are going to die].

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