Thursday, November 03, 2022

The Graveyard (part two)

I was thinking about my visit to the graveyard (more properly, it's a "cemetery," actually). 

Our relationship with death has changed over time, and certainly since the last century. Back in the day, death was much closer to us on a daily basis. People died younger. Medicine was far less advanced. Infant mortality was higher. The notion now that someone would have seven children and more than half wouldn't make it past the first few years is inconceivable now, but even in the early part of the twentieth century, it wasn't uncommon. 

Maybe life seemed less permanent then, and I wonder if it made people more reckless, so they could experience as much as they could while they had the chance. Live for the day and all that. 

COVID, though, made everything feel much more fragile again. We think of the 1918 Flu Pandemic as being overwhelming, but 675,00 people in the United States people died from the flu. Far more people (in the U.S., at least) have died from COVID. 

Suddenly, death is more personal again. We're vulnerable in a way we didn't think was possible five years ago. Seeing so many headstones with dates in the last three years really brought this home for me. Life seems so solid, but the ice underneath us can suddenly be very, very thin.

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