But none of us escape it, do we? We make light of it -- mock it, really:
Farrah Fawcett goes to heaven. God grants her one wish. Farrah says, "Please take care of my children, and keep them from harm." So God strikes down Michael Jackson.
They say death comes in threes. Leave it to Billy Mays to throw himself in for free.
If God punishes us for whistling through the graveyard and making light of death, I'm a dead man bound for hell. But this recent spate of high-profile dirt naps has everyone thinking, doesn't it? How will the world remember you? Will you even be remembered? What's it all about?
Will you be remembered as the faithful, background sidekick like Ed McMahon? I'm still of the age that I remember Ed... always there... always quick with a laugh or a rejoinder (YES!) if Johnny's gag fell flat.
Do you hope to be eulogized like Farrah Fawcett, the bombshell that everyone wanted to be (or just plain wanted)? And though I never really paid attention at the time, she was by almost all accounts a good actress and fought a courageous fight against a horrible cancer.
Or are you going to be like Michael Jackson -- who somehow came to represent both the best and worst in humanity?
Hell, even Billy Mays, that (somewhat) lovable, loudmouthed huckster got his ticket punched. At least he knew what his life was supposed to be, and he lived it well.
But the death that brought it home for me was Marianne Stovall. She was an administrative assistant of mine back in a previous life, and she was only 58 -- but cancer doesn't care much about age, I guess.
Thankfully, I don't have a clue about when or how I'll die, and I'm not entirely sure what, if anything, people will remember about me. But I know I'm more attuned to it today than I was a week ago. And for that, I can thank Ed, Farrah, Michael, Billy, and Marianne. Godspeed. All of us.