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An Open Letter To Mr. Death

Updated on February 20, 2013

“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so….”

John Donne


Another weekend has passed and with it millions of people have left this life. That’s as it should be. We are born, we live, we die. The natural order of things for sure, and I have no complaints about it. We all know what we are getting into as we live our lives. We all realize that the end will come, for us and our loved ones, and not a one of us can say we were not warned.

Mr. Death, I know you are just doing your job, and I really have no argument with the job you do, but I don’t want you thinking for a second that you have won. I can picture you sitting on your throne, gloating over the taking of another person, racking up the numbers by the millions each day, and smiling your dark smile.

But there is no reason for you to smile because, you see, you cannot win this battle. While you sit there smugly adding the tally, we, the living, know something you do not realize…..our loved ones never truly die.

All gone and yet.....
All gone and yet..... | Source


By the time I was fifteen I had lost all of my grandparents. When I was twenty my dad died, and nine years ago you took my mother. My sister died six years ago and I’m sure you found some satisfaction in taking that lovely woman, and I have no doubt you laughed when you took my fiancé a month before we were to be married back in 1997. Great timing on that one. You got your ounce of flesh for sure when she died, and you will be happy to know that it shook me to my core and left me questioning what life is all about. Score one for you!

You did not stop with just family members, though, as you reached your icy hand into my collection of friends. Some died by natural causes; some died at their own hand; all were mourned and all are missed, and I’m sure you lifted a toast at their passing.

....they still live in this author
....they still live in this author | Source
and in my son
and in my son | Source


The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

We humans are an interesting species. Our lives are comprised of so much more than flesh and blood. We are the sum total of all our experiences. We are love and compassion, empathy and pathos, and you may be able to reach out and snatch our corporeal lives, but you will never be able to snatch the memories and impressions that we leave behind.

Every single time I reach out a hand to help another person, my father lives. Every single time I smile at a stranger, my mother lives. My grandmother's unshakable belief in God; my grandfather's refusal to give up; my sister's love of family; every single time I share love I am sharing the love given to me by those who lived their lives and had an impact on mine.

This is where you fail, Mr. Death. You cannot erase the lasting impressions of our loved ones simply by bringing to an end their breathing. You are a smug and heartless bastard who will always lose in this conflict, simply because love is stronger than death, and memories are passed down from one generation to the next in a continuing celebration of life….in a continuing celebration of life!

How do you feel now Mr. Death, knowing that despite your best efforts you can never truly take our loved ones away from us?

A song that will always touch my heart


You are like the schoolyard bully who beats on kids for their lunch money. You go home and count your daily gains, and you find satisfaction in the counting of coins, and yet, during your quiet, alone times, you realize that what you truly need, namely, admiration and respect, will always be just outside of your grasp.

You can never take my loved ones. They are in my heart and soul and they always will be, and I have told their stories to my son, and they reside in his heart and soul as well. How can you defeat that? You have no defense against the most important human possession, namely love.

We humans are so unique that we can even find importance in the life of a person we never knew, further complicating your little, myopic world. Gandhi will never die, nor will Lincoln, Mother Theresa and millions of others who have taught us important lessons about life. The homeless man who smiled and prayed for me when I gave him a dollar will never die. The thousands of children that I taught during my teaching career will never die, and the tens of thousands of strangers who were kind to me during my lifetime will never die.

You are a weak, pathetic creature and we defeat you each and every day.

How do you like that you thug?

Death be not proud
Death be not proud | Source


There are millions of us who believe that even after death we just move on to a spiritual life, and if that is true then you are the ultimate fool, because not only do we continue to live in the minds of our loved ones, but we continue to live spiritually after death. Now what do you think of your power? Is that smirk disappearing as you read this?

Here is what I know of bullies: they must be confronted and called out for what they are. You are a bully, Sir! You bring fear into the hearts of man, and you leave a trail of grief wherever you go, and you find great satisfaction in doing so.

Well I stand before you and say that you are ineffectual in your attempts to shatter my happiness, and I refuse to give you any power over my life.

Bring it on, Mr. Death, but until you do I’m going to keep doing what humans do. I’m going to keep living and I’m going to keep loving. I’m going to keep spreading the message of brotherhood, and with each act that I do I will build that bond stronger and stronger, so that when my day comes, and you call on me, I will laugh in your face and tell you that, like all human beings, my memory is immortal and you cannot truly kill me.

How do you like that you punk?

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)


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