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Memento Mori

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In ancient Rome, immediately behind the generals parading through the streets celebrating their most recent victory, there was a servant paid to repeat over and over to the lauded conqueror, “Memento Mori”—remember that you will die.   Can you even imagine Caesar, in his hour of victory and achievement, so intentionally humbled?   Wow.   Socrates, Epictetus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Shakespeare, and others wrote about the importance of contemplating death—to keep us humble and focused on what is important—to shake us back into being alive.   “Memento Mori”—remember that you will die.   ===   I watch an octogenarian friend as she works, with great difficulty, to use the side of her fork to cut scrambled eggs and maneuver a bite-sized piece to her mouth.   She has outlived her dexterity.   Memento Mori   ===   I quite enjoy officiating funerals. Let me rephrase that: I quite enjoy officiating funerals for people I do not know. They remind me of what is important.   Memento Mori   ===   At the end of a Jewish wedding (at least since the tradition grabbed hold in the 1400s and replaced the fertility rite of throwing eggs at the bride and groom), a glass is broken.   It is a wonderful reminder that, even in the midst of our gladness, death awaits.   Memento Mori   ===   No one gets out of this alive.   Memento Mori    

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