Death Is Your Neighbor

When you live in a street with eight houses, it’s impossible to ignore a new neighbor. You can’t just blend in with hundreds of other residents, like in a big apartment complex. There’s no sneaking out, ducking away, and quickly closing the door behind you.

In a residential area, it’s you, the Millers, the Jamesons, Myrtle the old lady, and now…Death. That’s right. Mr. D moved in next door. In fact, he’s always been there. The question is: When will you acknowledge his presence?

You don’t have to love Death. I wouldn’t recommend going for dinner at his house. He’ll knock on your door when it’s time. You’ll know.

Ignoring him, on the other hand, won’t make him go away. It’ll just make you a grumpy neighbor. When you see Death getting his newspaper, wave at him. Say hi. Be friendly.

If you catch him knocking on Myrtle’s house, nod at him. Remember Myrtle. Shed a tear. Feel for her and feel for Death. His job is not one to envy.

I started greeting Death when I was 23. I hope I won’t stop. 75 is far too late to become a good neighbor. There won’t be enough time to get familiar before he knocks.

The word “mortality” sounds like “more” because when we think about it, it extends the time we have – not by adding hours, but by adding presence.

Welcome to the community. Remember to greet your neighbors.