I’ve been strangely interested in the death, in the last couple of days, of Nora Ephron. I was well aware of her work and her name – our wedding ceremony included two of our guests acting out the final scene of ‘When Harry Met Sally‘ – but I have been impressed with the humour and honesty of her writing, reflected in the many opinion pieces that have appeared with her passing.
One of her remarks that particularly struck me was that you should, ‘eat delicious things while you can still eat them… go to wonderful places while you still can …not have evenings where you say to yourself…why am I here? I am bored’. It seems to me to be logical, yet so often ignored in our day to day existence.
Unrelated to this, I’ve been watching Twitter in the last days, as I often do, and Ricky Gervais responded to a comment sent his way, presumably in relation to his religious/atheist views. He tweeted that death would be much like the 14 billion years before you were born, and so provided little to be worried about.
Both are about the fleeting presence we spend on the planet, and the fact that we only have one go. In my life, it’s taken the death of my first wife, then making a decision to move on, followed by a new marriage and the birth of my two children, to appreciate that what we have today might not be there tomorrow, and that what might be here tomorrow is possibly unexpected and maybe rather wonderful. I think I am more productive in my days as a result of these experiences and I hope that I am more likely to do the things I want to do, rather than do the things others want me to do. I suspect that this will be more fulfilling in the longer term.
The fact that I think, hope and suspect suggests that even I haven’t really grasped completely the finite nature of life, the unpredictability of the final days, and the changing tides in which we swim. I’m glad of the timely reminders, from Ricky and Nora, that we should make the most of life before the inevitable long term absence we will endure after dying.