By Jin-yeong Yi
“We are masters of life and death, we rationalists. It has been a fine adventure, this half century of conscious existence, with all its labor and trouble and injustice. Huxley once sincerely replied to Kingsley, who sympathized with him on the death of a child, that they were proud and happy to have had the child just those few years with them. That is the spirit. An hour of sunlight is better than none. To have been born and lived and died is, for the man who knows how to live, a privilege and an opportunity that he might never had had. You have had the joy of seeing your children slowly rise through the phases of blossoming and ripening around you. You have known the fragrance of wine and flowers, the delights of art, the fascination of science, the joy of battle in a good cause…. How can any man have the effrontery to grumble that the feast is not eternal?”
—Joseph McCabe, “The Myth of Immortality”
Another day, another death. Roger Ebert passed away this morning at age 70, ending an 11 year struggle with cancer. I admit I was surprised, because I had been going by a vague assumption that he would manage to pull through somehow.
His last words to his readers, which were penned not two days ago, could hardly have been more fitting: “I’ll see you at the movies.”
His death is one of countless reminders that everyone is on their way out.
It may come as a consolation to some that he was prepared for his fate well before it came.
“After a series of surgeries and painful recovery, in 2010 Ebert mused about death, writing, in part, ‘I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear.’
He added, ‘What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting.'”
That’s the spirit, Mr. Ebert. Thank you for all the reviews. See you at the movies.