I’m not afraid of dying. I don’t think I’ve been afraid of dying since, well, since I watched my grandfather die in his bed in Mississippi. That would have been in 1960. He died of liver cancer at 75. I remember the jaundice had taken him and his skin was the color of stale butter. There was a smell too; a rancidness which even the strong Old Spice aftershave could not overcome. But there was a sereneness to the scene. He had been shaved and his still full head of white hair combed with the part on the left and he lay in his bed, propped on pillows, while family and friends filed by; my grandmother announcing each as they stopped to pay their respects. There were two doors to the bedroom, one from the center hall and another onto a small covered porch. The line stretched out of the bedroom, down the hall and into the yard and the devoted came out of the hall by the left side of the bed, around the foot and out the door to the porch. Not rich in material goods he had been a good friend and in that coin he might well have been Crassus. Four African-American churches would hold memorial services for him and for years people would speak of Uncle Arch.
I sat in the corner in a ladder back chair, its rush seat uncomfortable on my bottom the heels of my Thom McCan loafers hooked on the bottommost rung. I was by the window, it’s curtains drawn to create a half-light funereal atmosphere or perhaps a predicting of the twilight of purgatory. Yet, there was something in that place and time, I still don’t know what it was, but something that said to me: death is not to be feared. Since then I haven’t, feared death that is. I was not absolved of fear completely, just the fear of dying for when I was flying combat or flight testing an aircraft there was the omnipresent fear, not of death but of disfiguration from fire or dismemberment from accident. I remember the thought at the back of my mind that constantly reminded me that death was preferable to either. But I was young and invulnerable as is all youth.
Not many people share my attitude towards death. It seems to have become the overriding concern of our society. We demand government protect us from death by providing cradle to whenever health care. We are willing to shut ourselves away and shun others, all because we fear death and yet we are all going to die, it is the one inevitability of life, well that and taxes, especially with the Democrats in charge. It is an inescapable fact that each and every of us will die and that few of us will be able to select how or when.
Some of my friends suffered from survivor syndrome; that is they didn’t die when others around them were doing just that and it made them feel guilty. Mine is the Vietnam generation. You remember Vietnam, it was in all the papers and on TV for years. It is in no small part responsible for the collectivists of today’s generations. I won’t explain that other than to say that the protestors of the ’60’s became the college professors of the ’90’s and 2000’s and as such passed on their attitudes towards government and society.
Our Vice President elect said not long ago that for her equality was that we all ended up in the same place. Now she is absolutely correct, we will all end up in the same place, dead, but now she says government wants to help us get there. One of the President elect’s new medical advisors wrote a decade ago that we shouldn’t seek to live to an age of more than 75 because the cognitive decline after that age made us more of a burden than an asset to society. Strange the President elect would choose him since the PE is already 77 and will be 78 in eleven days. But he promises healthcare for all, but one of his main advisors doesn’t seem to be on the same page. We’ll see.
But health care does subsume us to the point of consuming our greatest efforts and is far and away the leading business in the U.S. these days. Is this how we really want to be? Living in fear of death when death is inevitable? Hiding away and having government pass law after law that tells you what you must do and can’t do?
Based on available information COVID-19 will mutate and become a permanent fixture in Human society like rhinoviruses and other COVID viruses. Flu vaccines don’t stop people from getting the flu because like other viruses the flu viruses mutate season to season. So too, is it likely that COVID-19 will become an everyday reality of life. A vaccine may reduce the number of deaths but just as with flu, pneumonia, bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses those with underlying conditions are going to die at higher rates than those healthier members of the population.
Worldwide, more than 150,000 people die daily, mostly from coronary related diseases or cancer but lots die from a host of other diseases many of which are respiratory associated. Thousands starve to death, HIV takes a few thousand a day and tuberculosis and malaria are still big killers in underdeveloped countries. 150,000 is still a large number until you consider that against that number 385,000 live births occur every day world-wide. But if you’re keeping count, not counted in the 150,000 death total is the World Health Organization’s figure of 125,000 abortions performed daily.
So we accept heart disease, HIV, malaria and other diseases as the inevitability of living but we seem unable to accept the numbers associated with COVID while at the same time we terminate the lives of another 125,000 because of “Choice.” Maybe it’s time we sat down and did some logical thinking and put our emotions aside. I’m not saying we shouldn’t take precautions or that we should be rushing out with arms spread to welcome carriers of the virus, but maybe, just maybe it’s time we learn not to fear death and to accept it as the one indisputable inevitability of life. There are other elements we need to discuss like suffering and the impact of that suffering upon the psychological states of those who have to stand by and watch but we’ll take that up later. For now it is enough to address death.
What do you think?