Death Awaits

I like reading Terry Pratchett. He has lots of interesting characters, funny dialog and perspectives on the mundane, set in a world full of magic and fantasy. When I need a pick-me-up escape kind of book, I reach for Terry Pratchett.

Ironically, one of my favorite characters in the Pratchett books is Death. Pratchett has made Death a character, with the grim reaper appearance you’d expect, who has the job of ending people’s lives. Sometimes Death is central to the novel, other times he has a cameo part, ending the lives of ancillary characters. It’s very like Terry Pratchett to keep mortality, personified as Death, in the picture. These fantasy novels are all about the real world.

During my own real life, Death’s role, and my view of death, has changed. Sometimes, when Death has claimed someone close to me, the void left behind has consumed my world. Sometimes just imagining the death of someone close has consumed me with grief. Am I a glutton for punishment, or just trying to get used to the idea of something I know is inevitable?

As a teenager and young adult, it was terribly hard to think of dying of old age. I thought of death quite often, though. What with the threat of nuclear holocaust, and the usual tragedies of car accidents and such, living to old age seemed unlikely, even though I was surrounded by evidence that my odds of survival were good.

And yet, I made it. I’m officially mid-life, with decades of not dying under my belt. Sure, Death could be around the next corner of my commute, or lurking in some pre-cancerous cells I don’t know about, but odds are low. It’s time to stop thinking about Death as something suddenly tragic that happens to me, or exceedingly sad that happens to other people. Death is not an imaginary character. Death is real, and some day in the years ahead, it will be My Turn.

My Turn — isn’t that scary? Well, yes. But, no. Odds are I have as much time left as I have already had as an adult. That’s a lot of time. Nothing to be scared about. But it certainly does make me want to be a lot more intentional about how I use the time I have left.

Thanks for spending some of the time you have left, here with me.

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