Tag Archives: aging

The endless lives of the dead

I have an aunt who is in her late eighties, and often when I talk to her she will tell me about some of her old acquaintances, or she keeps reminiscing of people who were famous in her youth, people she used to admire and respect. These comments usually include something along the lines of ‘if s/he hadn’t died when s/he did, then s/he would have…’ and with these comments she keeps bringing those idealized dead to life in her mind, putting them in a context that is not their own. The one thing that never seems to occur to her is that if those people hadn’t died when they did… chances are that by now they would have died of something else. I mean, most of those people would be over a hundred years old by now, some would have been something like a hundred and fifty. And yet she keeps saying of every new development ‘If s/he hadn’t died, s/he would have…’