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Checking out

22 April, 2007

A final quote from Richard Holloway’s wonderful book, Looking in the Distance:

Apart from sorrow at leaving, the other pain that may be experienced by the dying is fear of what might come after. Religion has been highly productive of this kind of anxiety…

The healthy antidote … is not false assurance about the bliss that awaits us in the next life, but the recognition that, though dying may be painful, death won’t be, because it is our old friend Nothing.

Paul Celan taught us to praise Nothing for the brief joy of life. Now, at our ending, we can praise Nothing for the blessed oblivion into which we shall return.

Death is the term we use to describe the dissolution of the physical elements we were made of and their return to the earth from which they came, but we aren’t going to be there to witness it. …

Our brief finitude is but a beautiful spark
in the vast darkness of space.
So we should live the fleeting day with passion and,
when the night comes,
depart from it with grace.

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