There comes a time in life when we all begin to realize that we are not immortal. However, some people seem to live longer. Is there a key to longevity?
I recently attended the memorial service for my friend David. He died in his 87th year. David was a war hero and veteran of the Second World War and the Korean War. He lived a long and productive life, the last 40 years of it with his wife Arlene.
What we human beings quite naturally do at memorial services is mourn for all our previous losses as we grieve our present loss. That is why you see people crying at funerals when they did not even know the person who had died. It is a healthy part of the human condition.
My thoughts quite naturally went back to earlier this year when my wife’s brother died at 89, my son Colin died at 40, and two years ago when my son Richard died at 41.
I had the privilege of reading David Reynolds’s autobiography. On that day as I reflected further on David’s life, I recalled recently losing a friend and colleague in her 50s. My thoughts went to my father’s brother who died at 99 and to my maternal grandmother’s brother who died at 106 that same year… and to my parents who died in separate violent accidents when I was a child and youth. There have been many others…
Even when you remove accidental death, suicide and war from the equation, there remains a huge variation in how long we live. Some have their lives cut short through cancers, tumors and other illnesses; others through poor lifestyle choices. ‘Twere ever thus.