We are not born to die. Death is not the point of our existence, life is. We do not get one day closer to death with each day we live. Regardless of our interventions, death comes for us when it is ready, when it is time. Death is not a choice, we can’t bring the date forward, or push the date back and we can’t opt out. Death is final, the price we pay for life. But despite this death itself is not a bad thing, we just treat it that way. The remembrance of death should be beautiful, as celebrated as birth, but we hate and fear it, consider it to be the opposite of life, which it is not. There is only life, death as a state does not exist, nor is it cruel to the dead, the one person it cannot hurt is the person who died. Death is for the living, the only ones who experience it, and in our loss, fear and sorrow it is we who turn it into a terror, the stalker, the grim reaper.

My father didn’t fear death but towards the end he feared life. Waking into life every morning became far worse than the idea of leaving it. Yet he stayed. He fought for life, for love, for family. It is the fight that matters, we are all fighting for our lives in one way or another and it is a fight we will all ultimately lose, but we don’t lose to death.

Our natural state is non existence and for the briefest moment, life defies it, illuminates the darkness. Humans are the brightest objects in the known universe, stars pale by comparison and like stars we fade, we cool. But although our bodies return to what we once were our spirit lives on in the memory of others, the dead only die if we forget them. It is therefore our responsibility to remember them well, to save them from the hell of our grief so we might cherish them in the heaven of our love. Like a dandelion on a puff of breath, my father was one, now he is many.

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