Some philosopher said “the death of others make us question our own mortality.” As a kid you do not ponder on death much, your gold fish dies and you grieve briefly, then the dog dies and you grieve some more, then one day you lose your grandparent and see the impact of grief, like seeing your father cry for the first time! That is what happen on Boxing Day 1975 and contributed to my becoming aware of the permanence of death and the realization that my dad was vulnerable to its impact!
Ok, I thought, so that death was for older people, but then on August 16th 1977, Elvis Presley passed away at the ripe age of 42 yrs and that was huge news and in the media forever to this day. I also remember being on the bus on my way to high school hearing on the radio, that American icon John Wayne passed away, that was on June 11th 1979. Now the heroes I grow up with were dying off. Jim Morrison of the rock group “the Doors” had a biography entitled “No one here, gets out alive”. I think it is the best title ever; we cannot escape death or aging and we all check out eventually. The rich, the poor, the tall the short, the white the black, the young, and the old… no one here gets out alive!
Approximately 14 yrs ago I went to a Police youth conference in Niagara Falls and one of the speakers started off with “Every living thing you love and know will die!” I was forty-six at the time and that just floored me! I know, I knew it, yet put in that way really shook me up. It was time to appreciate life.
I am not a rookie to death, I have had a cancer diagnosis 3 times in my life, my parents have long passed away, I am aware of death through my work, yet recently I found a new awareness. The passing of comedian Norm Mac Donald at 61, rocked my world! I just recently have hit the 60yr mark. The action heroes of my day are aging, Stallone, Willis, Lundgren, Neeson, Van Damme, and others, these are the John Wayne’s of my era and a reminder that soon their roles will change, or they will retire or die. A reminder that life wears us down and we will slow down, that at one point the last Rolling Stone or Beatle will pass and eventually a whole generation will become history.
Therefore, people, appreciate life, do your best, and know that you are significant for the good deeds you have done. We cannot all be Elvis! But done right we might be remembered for a generation or two…. and that too shall pass. So enjoy life now… I t is about time!