Josefine Speyer’s contribution to this book led to an ‘aha’ moment for me as it confirmed how I wanted to live my life. Josefine had an interest in death and was co-founder of the Natural Death Centre (UK). She had also suffered her own grief through her husband and friends’ sudden death.
So I was delighted when I received her very poignant words. They included a very moving passage by sixteenth century French philosopher Michel de Montaigne who encourages us to talk often about death in order to dilute its strangeness:
To begin depriving death of its greatest advantage over us … let us deprive death of its strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more o en in mind than death… We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere.
Josefine’s thoughtful reflections mirror de Montaigne’s quote.
We should be making friends with death and embracing death as part of life, as all the great religions try to teach us. To lead a good and meaningful life, we need to remember that we are mortal. This is my daily practice and it helps me to appreciate all aspects of my life: my health, family, friends, the people I work with, as well as nature, animals and the environment.
She concludes with the inviting line … ‘So, in the end, making friends with death is making friends with life.’ Too true.