Death Reflections #5


From: ‘How To Die: An Ancient Guide to the End of Life’ by Seneca, edited, translated, and introduced by James S. Romm:

Quote: Then little by little the suspirium [i.e. respiratory illness], which had turned into a kind of panting, gave me longer respites and slowed down. But it hung on, and even though it has ceased, I do not yet have natural, easy breathing; I feel a break in its rhythm, a delay between breaths…

Thought: The durations of relative well-being in life are but respites between unwellness of various kinds, of various degrees of severity. Why think this way, instead of the other way round, of seeing the durations of unwellness being the respites from ‘normal’ life instead? Because this reminds us to cherish the moments more well, to better do what we should, before they run out. And it reminds us of our mortality, to do what we should before time runs out entirely in this life. The older we get, the more unwellness tends to stay in the background, even if toned down at the moment. This might seem unfortunate, but should be seen as the ultimate reminder to prioritise the time left, to accomplish what is existentially fortunate.