Roger Ebert writes about death so poetically. (With no mention of an afterlife because you don’t get one.)
And now my friend’s wife and the newspaperman have both passed away. Early one morning, unable to sleep, I roamed my memories of them. Of an endless series of dinners, and brunches, and poker games, and jokes, and gossip. On and on, year after year. I remember them. They exist in my mind — in countless minds. But in a century the human race will have forgotten them, and me as well. Nobody will be able to say how we sounded when we spoke. If they tell our old jokes, they won’t know whose they were.
That is what death means. We exist in the minds of other people, in thousands of memory clusters, and one by one those clusters fade and disappear. Some years from now, at a funeral with a slide show, only one person will be able to say who we were. Then no one will know.
That may sound depressing to some, but I don’t see it that way at all. Life is all about the memories you create and take part in. With all the events that had to happen perfectly for us to be alive today, it’d be crazy not to make the most of the time we have available. It’s a call for optimism, a call for us to be happy, to do something meaningful with our lives, whatever that might mean. It’s inspiring, really.
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