Letter from Publisher - November 2021Oct 28, 2021 01:54PM ● By Dave Korba
“Learn to love death’s ink-black shadow as much as you love the light of dawn.” ~ Tyrtaeus, Greek poet of Sparta.
Ancient Greek Spartans were renowned as fearless warriors; the men, trained in the art of combat from an early age, were committed to the notion that death in battle is an honorable fate. While generally focused on maintaining the peace, defending their homeland and protecting their families, those warriors accepted the possibility that their life would end in battle, and dying honorably was an important part of their culture.
Perhaps the idea of an inevitable and honorable death persists today, but the overriding attitude in contemporary civilian culture seems to be avoiding the inevitability of death and acting as if we will live forever.
Perhaps a balance can be struck between living life fully and accepting and preparing for the inevitability of dying. Even the longest life span is relatively short, as we realize upon aging. Some of us take time to reflect and plan for our transition, but death sometimes occurs suddenly, without warning or advance preparation.
Ronica O’Hara discusses four steps to a good death in this month’s feature, "Dying Well," providing us with proactive, concrete steps to ease our passage and other valuable resources.
Author Jack Kornfield wrote, “The trouble is, you think you have time.” Some of us have more time than others. My younger brother died in a car accident at 23. My mother was 49 when she passed. A high school classmate was killed at 18. My uncle is celebrating his 90th birthday as I write, while my dad passed peacefully at home several years ago under hospice care at age 86.
Time is relative, and its deeper contemplation leads us to the realization that we’re all just passing through this worldly existence like the generations of human civilization before us, each of us striving to live to our full potential and learn the lessons afforded during our short visit. And if we’re inclined to the Spartan ethos, we seek an honorable death, battle not withstanding, while we live in pursuit of ways to feel good, live simply and laugh more.