We Die In Threes

Some like to say the deaths of celebrities come in threes. Three has been a sacred number throughout history, especially in the West. And so these same people will point to the almost simultaneous deaths of Roger Ebert, Annette Funnicello, and Margaret Thatcher.

Death is not a happy topic. In fact to most Americans it is a virtually a forbidden topic. We are supposed to be the land of destiny, of sunrises, of endless bright tomorrows. Death doesn’t fit neatly into that portrait. And yet it comes. Every hour. Everyday. Everywhere. Whether in threes or three hundreds.

Is there a point here…?

Yes, I believe so. Whenever the dark angel visits our world there are only two responses available to us. One is to hide our terror with cheerful prattle about anything and everything we can say, without saying the word itself. After all, we have been antiseptically isolated from it by all our professionals in the hospitals, funeral parlors and cemeteries. The other response is to quietly recall the wisest words about death ever uttered this side of heaven. The 17th C English poet John Donne: “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am indeed involved in mankind. Think never send to know for whom the bell tolls, for it tolls for thee….”

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