I've become aware of three deaths of famous - or somewhat famous - people over the past two days.
First was Don Cornelius - the creator of Soul Train - who died of an apparent suicide at 75. There is an excellent obituary in the LA Times online that can be found here.
The next death I became aware of was artist Mike Kelley, also a suicide, at age 57. His obituary in the LA Times can be found here.
Finally, this morning I heard about Wislawa Szymborska, the Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet. Her obit from the NY Times is here. She died of lung cancer at 88.
It's horrible, but I'm finding myself glad that Ms. Szymborska's death wasn't another suicide. [And yes. Dying from cancer is a horrible way to go. I'm not unaware of this.]
Hearing of suicides upsets me more than it used to. Part of it must be because a dear friend of mine committed suicide last year and it's still way too fresh in my mind. Another reason might be because I don't believe in any sort of "life after death" and so it seems so wasteful to end ones life early.
You only have the one life to live, after all. How can you choose to end it before you have to?
I seriously think that if it weren't for the promise of some sort of life after death, there would be many more atheists in the world. It is much more attractive to believe that there is something to look forward to rather than nothing.
Image is an illustration by Charles Allan Gilbert. It was found here. It is in the public domain as it was published in the US prior to 1923.