But it happens to everyone unless someone dies young. As genealogists we search out death dates as eagerly as we search out birth dates, but do we ever stop to think that maybe someone someday will be filling in our death date on one of those family group or pedigree sheets. I was watching a movie the other day and there was one scene where a young girl is trapped in a burning house. A young boy makes his way in to save her and she says, "Are we going to die? You can tell me if we are. I'm not afraid." The boy replies, "Yes, we're all going to die. But if it's all the same to you, I prefer it not be today." The boy speaks truth. We are all going to die, but most of us prefer that it not be today. When we do die, what we leave behind us for good or bad is what makes us live after we have left mortality.
This brings up a poem I recently discovered, and I will leave you with it:
How Did You Die?
Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it,
And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?
You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what's that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It's nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there -- that's disgrace.
The harder you're thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts,
It's how did you fight -- and why?
And though you be done to the death, what then?
If you battled the best you could,
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he's slow or spry,
It isn't the fact that you're dead that counts,
But only how did you die?
-- Edmund Vance Cooke (1866-1932)