Tag: Death

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. People Will Die

 

As the country starts to breathe a sigh of relief and emerges from the lockdown that is devastating our economy, people will use this opportunity to attack those who have supported the country’s efforts to re-open. They will cry out that people are dying. And they are right.

Whether the country began to re-open this month, or next month or in September, in other words, no matter when we strive to return to normal lives, people will die. Some will die from heart attacks, or pneumonia, or simply old age. And some will have contacted COVID-19. We will probably never know how the virus actually contributed to their deaths, but even now it has been implicated as the source of many deaths. And people who supported opening up will be called out for conspiring with those who are greedy, those who lack compassion and concern for other human beings.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Last Things

 

Mark Twain once wrote, “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” I’ve always liked Twain, probably because his temperament and philosophy pretty much match my own. I’m in a Twain state of mind this morning, so I thought I’d use Twain as my spirit guide as I write a post on last things.

OK then, first things first: last words. I don’t know about you, but I want to leave a good last impression. Here’s Mark Twain with a hint to help us to do just that: “A man should be as particular about his last words as he is about his last breath. He should write them out on a slip of paper. . . .and never leave such a thing to the last hour of his life.”

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Novelty of Our Situation

 

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.” — C.S. Lewis

While Lewis wrote this in regard to the then-new threat of atomic warfare, it seems remarkably appropriate to today’s Chinese coronavirus scare. While we may be reacting to the threat in novel ways, the threat itself is as old as mankind. Yet death is inevitable once birth has occurred. Through our panic (as others have noted on Ricochet) some may be hastening their own deaths or the deaths of others.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Fear and Panic in Florida

 

My husband and I must be the only two seniors who embrace sanity over panic. We live in a 55+ community, where many people have pre-existing conditions or simply don’t take care of themselves. To deal with their anxiety regarding the COVID-19, they feel they have to do something. They’ve decided to shop. When we went to do our weekly shopping, you would have thought that a five-force hurricane was offshore bearing down on us. Shelves were cleared of bottled water, milk, and toilet paper. I’m not sure why they’ve gotten toilet paper, but I guess for those of us who are spoiled Westerners, toilet paper is a necessity.

We walked through the store, shaking our heads. I hope those people are feeling more at ease. I doubt it.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. We’re All Afraid

 

Fear is a normal state in human beings. At one time another, we’ve all experienced it. Soldiers know fear when they dive from bullets; some of us know fear when we need to drive on black ice; others experience fear when our children are seriously ill. We’ve all known fear.

Fear should also be a temporary state. It heightens our senses and awareness to notice when our safety or well-being is threatened; once the emergency passes, however, our bodies, for the most part, should return to a “normal state,” which is different for each person.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: A Good Death

 

“During these last months the King walked with death as if death were a companion, an acquaintance whom he recognized and did not fear. In the end death came as a friend, and after a happy day of sunshine and sport, and after “good night” to those who loved him best, he fell asleep as every man or woman who strives to fear God and nothing else in the world may hope to do.” — Winston Churchill, February 7, 1952, on the death of King George VI

I think many people hope that this sort of death awaits them, but I doubt it’s an entirely true account of the King’s experience. It’s lovely rhetoric that honors and elevates a respected man and emphasizes his fearlessness.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Maybe, Baby

 

If you knew you only had a 1% chance of surviving tomorrow, would you consider that a death sentence? What about 2%, 5%, 10%… at what point would your odds of survival be good enough you wouldn’t feel doomed? And what if you had to purchase your fairly slim chance at survival by risking the life of another? When would you do it? What balance of risk would just barely escape counting as doom?

What if you were the other whose life was risked on the slim hope of avoiding someone else’s death sentence? When would that hope be worth it, and when would it be a forlorn one? How effective must our efforts to lift another’s doom be in order to merit the price?

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. To Herb Meyer’s Memory

 

Over the years, Ricochet has inspired lasting friendships, not least of which is many members’ friendship with @tommeyer, who’s not only a great guy, but someone who rendered Ricochet great service before he moved on to other things. When Herb Meyer, Tom’s father, died, the outpouring of thanksgiving for Herb’s life was tremendous. At the time, I dedicated a motet I was working on to Herb’s memory, but life having gotten in the way, I haven’t had a chance to share it with the Ricoverse until now:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Life and Death: A Balancing Act

 

Death, or the specter of death, has been weighing on my life lately. It feels like a weight that I am able to carry, but one that is sometimes oppressive.

I first noticed it around D-Day. Normally I try to take these events in stride. After all, life and death are inextricable partners, no matter how difficult they may seem. But the thought of soldiers dying in huge numbers, and their leaders knowing that they would likely be sacrificing their lives, was a sad awareness that still lingers.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Rest in Peace, Philip Charles Gabriel

 

Three weeks ago, my dad talked to me for the last time. Three days ago, he died.

During those final weeks, any words surprised me. He was diagnosed with dementia eight years ago, four years after that with Alzheimer’s disease, and hasn’t been able to converse for several months. Every visit, he was a bit quieter, a lot thinner; a little less like Dad.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

This Memorial Day week-end has been especially poignant for me, and I’m not sure of the reasons. The touching posts we’ve seen about history, family and friends have both filled and hurt my heart; they are filled with pride, loss and truth. I’m reading Tom Cotton’s book on The Old Guard and did a post […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Nothing Lasts

 

“We are like children building a sand castle. We embellish it with beautiful shells, bits of driftwood, and pieces of colored glass. The castle is ours, off-limits to others. We’re willing to attack if others threaten to hurt it. Yet despite all our attachment, we know that the tide will inevitably come in and sweep the sand castle away. The trick is to enjoy it fully but without clinging, and when the time comes, let it dissolve back into the sea.” — Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart

 At a rational level, we all know that we will eventually die. But it seems like a far off ending to our lives. The fact is, though, that everything dies. We can’t hold on to anything forever: relationships end, flowers die, cars end up in junkyards, no matter how often we try to save them.

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Member Post

 

On May 1, 2017, I wrote the obituary of someone who died on March 25, 2019. Of course I left the date of death blank. I could not have guessed it. Indeed, until the latter date, I mean until about midday that very day, I did not think the subject was about to die. As […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Police, Death, and Black Humor Euphemisms

 

In another conversation, I mentioned that when I was growing up my father was a policeman and I heard about some suicides that were not necessarily suicides, like the belt-and-braces suicide. One guy shot himself in the heart with a long gun (a shotgun, maybe), and then he shot himself in the back of the head with a pistol just to make sure. Ricochet member @alfrench contributed this to the thread:

“Stole more chains than he could carry, then tried to swim across the River with them.”

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Member Post

 

“As soon as a man comes to life,” wrote Martin Heidegger, “he is at once old enough to die.” That’s not exactly a new insight, but it does have the virtue of clarity, which wasn’t Heidegger’s long suit. Being and Time is so incoherent that it makes Hegel look breezy in comparison. Still, statements like Heidegger’s do […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: What Kind of Death Will We Have?

 

 “I am very old, and fortunate that someone so lovely as Abishag the Shunammite ministers to me every day. In another minute or two, she will be completed with her preparations and come to my bed. I will treasure the warmth and sweetness of her. You think that makes me happy? You think I’m at peace now with my Maker? Anything but. I am thinking of God now, and I am thinking of Saul. I think of Saul in his wordless gloom and torment every time I came to his chamber to play for him, and I realize as I remember that I never saw a sadder face on human being until a little while ago, when Abishag the Shunammite held a mirror up for me to see and I looked at mine.” — from God Knows, by Joseph Heller

One of my favorite books, God Knows tells the story of King David from his perspective in his age. As Scripture relates, when David was an old man he was unable to stay warm, and so a beautiful young virgin was given to him to minister to him and keep him warm in his bed. In Heller’s book, David appreciates Abishag’s comeliness, but he only feels desire for Bathsheba, whose only desire is for her son Solomon to be king.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Thank You for William Goldman

 

My senior year in high school, I took College English with Father Dibble. He only taught four days a week, and on the fifth day we had a study hall. One day I decided to bring in a book for pleasure, The Princess Bride by William Goldman. The movie is funny, but the book is even funnier. I sat there reading, trying to stifle my giggles. My guffaws. My out-loud laughter.

Each time I burst out, I looked up and caught the eye of Fr. Dibble staring at me. I muttered apologies and slid down in my desk to keep reading. Finally I let out a loud shout of laughter, and Fr. Dibble walked over to me with a stern look on his face and a pad of paper and pen in hand. Leaning over, in a whisper he asked me, “What are you reading? If it is only one-half as funny as you think it is, I want to read it too.”

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Member Post

 

. . . this is not the same couple. Even if it isn’t, I feel for the couple who did fall: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/experience/america/national-parks/2018/10/19/proposal-captured-yosemite-photographer-searches-couple-twitter-social-media/1698538002/ More

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