Now I ask: what is the matter with us, or what could be so special about us, that we are so uniquely oblivious to – or perhaps beyond – death? Are we superior to all those civilizations through the millenia that gave this event so much importance? Could that really be true? The minimal thought, time and effort we give the subject suggests we just might be that conceited, that arrogant. And that naive.
Death is like a foreign continent, about which none who tread its ground will report back. Its secrets engage us so intensely that its shadows darken the path that leads to it – that is, we do not distinguish sharply enough between death and dying. The distinction is important, in that much of what we ascribe to death has already been completed in dying, as our glance and imagination still probe now and again into the intermediary zone. As distant as death might still lie, we can already taste the climate surrounding it.