Mortality

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If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.           John F. Kennedy

It is a subject we all must face at some point in time. It is a condition that, as JFK implied, is common to everyone, eventually.  Mortality.  It has been on my mind recently. Not in any morbid sense of the word, but as a matter of fact. Perhaps all of us of a certain age do ponder the matter from time to time.

Going through my address book recently, I was somewhat startled by the number of contacts that no longer had living people attached them. Dave Barrett, a stellar anchor and reporter for both ABC and CBS News Radio is only the latest, as of this writing, to leave us and at the young age of 63. Of course, I realize that friends and colleagues pass away. But seeing the names, in black and white, of what seemed to be so many, and realizing that they were beyond contacting now, at least by traditional means, is unsettling.

Ruminating along these lines runs the risk of getting mired in age old and unanswerable questions. Do we really go around only once? Is there life after? What happens when? What is the soul, anyway? Perhaps a more fundamental question is, will anyone remember us? Not just tomorrow, next year or even five or ten years from now. What about in fifty or even a hundred years? Will our presence today be acknowledged a century from now? Does it matter?

The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius had fairly blunt thoughts about all this. Your days are numbered,  he said. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it. 

OK, I can get onboard with that. Not so much, though, with the rather mournful musings of  a character in the novel, “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena” by author Anthony Marra.  There is something miraculous in the way the years wash away your evidence, first you, then your friends and family; then the descendants who remember your face, until you aren’t even a memory, you’re only carbon, no greater than your atoms, and time will divide them as well.

It seems that living, and surviving, on this rock is surely worth more than that. It would great solace to know that I was remembered by my granddaughters’ grand children, and their descendants well into the future. To that end, I have partnered with talented video producer Susan Pellegrini and her company, Synergy Productions, for what Susan calls the Life Legacy Films (LLF). For people who want to leave memories behind when the inevitable time comes, it is the chance to tell our stories. This is a link to the promo for my LLF, which is a work in progress: http://www.lifelegacyfilms.com.

Most of us want our lives to mean something. As President Kennedy said, we are mortal. We also want to be memorable

Published by J. Paul Hickey

Author, Bass Player, Retired National Correspondent for ABC News - 32 years with the network - Retired in 2012. Narrates Audiobooks. Volunteer at Fort Sumter National Park. Holder of two university Honorary Doctorate Degrees, Distinguished Eagle Scout, former SCUBA diver.

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