Celebrate the Life of Death

A Eulogy to the Grimreaper

by: Derek Hobson

I remember when I first met death…: pale complexion, bony physique, dark robes. He was sitting on the swings by himself at lunch and asked me if I wanted to “hang out,” I acquiesced and suddenly he pulled out a noose.

Today, we honor the life of Death; the grim reaper. First, I will share with you his faith in people; next, I will tell of the obstacles he overcame, and finally, what he has passed on to me.

First, I want to share with you his remarkable faith in people. One of the qualities I loved about Death was how he was always there for you, not necessarily when you needed him, but sooner or later, he’d show up. He did wonderful things for people. I saw him bring families together, make people do and say the things they feel, even console people into turning their lives around. Who could forget the mean old man up the street; the crooked kook who’s selfishness kept him from treating people with any sort of decency—you know him as Ebenezer Scrooge. He was a man who believed that he was above society and everything in it, that is, until Death came around. When our grim reaper showed him the consequences of his actions, the rich, old fool became a wise and carefree saint! Death never gave up on Scrooge, not even when he had given up on himself; just one example of the many lives he’s changed, due to his constant vigilance.

Martyrs believe that there are things worth dying for, where would they be without our skinny man of bones? The Samurai in feudal Japan felt that once they had lost their honor there was no way to get it back, that is, until Death reached out for them; giving them the privilege of experiencing something most people fear and run away from.

Next, I will tell you about the obstacles he overcame. Death didn’t always get along with people and the fact is, he’s not easy to get along with. I was there when he ended World War II, but I was also there when he took the life of a four-year-old’s father. I said it was unfair. He always said that it was in the cards and who could argue? He had the best poker face.

His personal life was lacking, people feared him or laughed at him. When he was a kid, he couldn’t manage a single push up in gym class due to a lack of muscle tissue, but even as they laughed, he grinned and stood tall. He never held a grudge and knew that someday, they would need his assistance.

In his professional life, people regarded him as a liability; a man whose been in and out of prisons, hospitals, and wars. This lack of stability made it difficult for him to get a job, and he was forced to cater to general pharmacies, highway patrol, and even local vending machines.

His private life was difficult as well; women called him heartless and men called him frail. He could touch the lives of others, but no one could touch his. This led him to make his own decisions in life, but ultimately, he was alone.

Finally, I will reveal to you what he has passed on to me. Death has suffered, has been revered, and he has been on display, even now pirates wave his face on a flag pole. Despite all this, he’s one of the most worldly people I have ever met. He’s unbiased, honest and faithful, doing just about every occupation, and seeing every site there is. And through it all, in his final moments, I asked him, “what’s the one thing to take away from this world?” What’s the one thing you’ve learned? With a grin that sent chills down my spine, he said, “everything is temporary,” and he was gone.

He is not a symbol of fear, he taught me that to avoid him would be living a lie. And so if you cannot run from him than you must embrace him; accept him; a truth that can be held with any person, living or otherwise. He told me to treat people as if we had been best friends for years and, after a ten year absence, were finally reunited.

In conclusion, we honor Death in our lives, as he has touched so many of our hearts. We are here to celebrate his faith in people, understand the obstacles he overcame, and spread the word of what he’s passed on.

Death taught me to cherish time, and not be sad over anything because, the fact is, nothing lasts forever—everything is temporary—even Death.

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