Two apparently healthy men die of sudden heart attacks. A father fights cancer. Doctors concerned about cyst on girlfriend's back. Mother's feeding tube removed. Grandmother dies peacefully. Sisters attend uncle's funeral. Mother-in-law accidentally poisoned by carbon monoxide. Grandfather sent to assisted living. Brother needs an intervention. Husband rushes to hospital to have laceration examined. Son burns face, neck, and chest.
A lot can happen in half a year. I have a personal connection to each of those stories, though some are more remote than others. But this is the human experience: we are suspended between birth and death for a short while, and forces both grand and mundane seek to extinguish our humble existence. We are programmed as living organisms to strive against these forces. There is nothing special about this struggle; it merely places us among the animals of the natural world. We are transcendent only through our capacity to empathize beyond our filial relationships and our immediate social network, and by our ability to act upon those feelings. Today let us feel empathy.