There’s a bit from one of the the “Adult Wednesday Addams” fan-made videos (by Melissa Hunter) that goes roughly as follows:
“Unless you die simultaneously holding hands in a plane crash and the odds on that are twenty-seven million to one, every single person on this Earth will die alone. And it’s that singular commonality which brings us all together.”
In some ways, I find that strangely comforting.
First, I think she just made up the “twenty-seven million to one” but I did some checking–looked up the number who die in a year from all causes and those who die in airplane accidents and…well several million to one is not out of the cards.
And even if one happens to be killed simultaneously with a loved one clutching each others hand, the final crossing of the threshold, whether to oblivion or to some afterlife, that remains an experience that each faces alone.
Dying alone is the one inescapable common thing we all share. Rich or poor, famous or obscure, good or bad, none of that changes that singular point.
We all die alone.
And so, it’s not the death that should concern us. Shakespeare put into the mouth of Julius Caesar:
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard.
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
The Volsung Saga of Iceland had Volsung the King say:
once alone must all men
need die, and from that season shall none escape ; so my
rede it is that we flee nowhither, but do the work of our
hands in as manly wise as we may
Many people worry about their death. But what does that worry buy them. One might deprive oneself, eating a bland, tasteless diet, shielding oneself from all the dangers of life and for what? We all die. More, we all die alone. Perhaps they can add a few brief years to their span upon this Earth, but to what benefit if in so doing they suck the joy out of life?
Life is to be appreciated. And while I do not advocate “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die”, a retreat into hedonism. Far from it. But rather, an advance into meaning. Find something meaningful, something that will live on after you, and pursue it with passion. After all, while we all die, the mark we make on the world need not.
And, while not retreating into hedonism, taking some time to enjoy the life you have is not out of place.