Memento Mori

It strikes me that most people are afraid of death.

“Duh! Of course they are!”, you say to me.

I don’t know if it’s because I experienced death at the age of ten that I have a completely different relationship to it than most people.

(I didn’t actually die, as you can tell, but I went through all of the motions and if my mum hadn’t actually been on the phone to the doctor at the moment I collapsed, and if he hadn’t dropped everything and come straight round then there’s a very good chance I wouldn’t be typing this.)

All I know is that it was the most blissful feeling. To have all of your worries melt away into nothing. To have no pain, no anxiety, no responsibilities.

Now… I’m not suggesting you bring this experience about… there’s so much to do before then.

But it’s worth recognising the reality.

Firstly: you will die.

And secondly: you probably don’t know when that will actually happen.

You can see this as terrifying (as most people do), or you can see it as liberating (as I do).

Given that you will die, it’s what happens between now and then that counts.

Given that you don’t know when you will die, what are you waiting for?

Given that there will come a point when you will leave the earthly experience and take nothing with you, how important is all that ‘stuff’ around you? How important are all those worries?

Stoics will often carry a coin bearing the legend “Memento Mori” – ‘remember death’. It is their constant reminder to live. Now.

If you knew that you were going to die, and you didn’t know when it was going to happen, what would you do differently? What would you say that’s been unsaid? What would you stop worrying about? What would you stop waiting for?