HomeLifeStars’ deaths a reminder that life is transient

Stars’ deaths a reminder that life is transient

We all know the expression ‘nothing in the world is certain but death and taxes’ evidently coined first by Daniel Defoe in The Political History of the Devil in 1726 and followed up by Benjamin Franklin in a letter to a friend.

The taxes part we can either avoid, evade or pay, but death comes to all, the mighty and the meek.

A friend recalled that her mother once told her how challenging ageing was, especially when the heroes you have grown up with begin to die. Her mother’s heroes and idols had been movie stars and theatre greats, born out of a time of war and then peace. They had loomed large on the movie screen and had helped my friend’s mother through some tough times in her youth.

This notion surfaced for many of us recently when three of Australia’s greats in the music world died. None was old by today’s standards – none was in their 80s or 90s, yet their deaths were another reminder that life is transient and fragile, despite our advances in medical care.

Read: Frowns and wrinkles – a curse or testament to a well-lived life?

Judith Durham and Olivia Newton-John have been part of the baby boomers’ youth. We watched as they sang their way around the world, raking in the accolades and bringing joy to thousands of followers. Even today’s young have probably seen Grease, the movie, or sung one of the roles in their school musical version.

The movie captivated a generation and revealed a side of Olivia that Australians had rarely seen.

I imagine most Baby Boomers can sing along to The Seekers’ Morningtown Ride or The Carnival is Over – the songs playing on a near continuous loop over the radio for years.

Read: Death from a royal perspective

Archie Roach became famous with his moving music about the Stolen Generation, helping the vast majority of Australians to understand the trauma inflicted on our First Nations people.

We have much to be thankful for in all their music, both lyrical and thoughtful.

We all know we are going to die, but on a daily basis we submerge it, push the terrifying concept away to try to enjoy the day-to-day joys and tribulations of living. We sublimate our fears into other things too, our families, our passions, our ego.

It is this fear though that leads some to great creativity – to sing and write songs as these great Australians did, to leave a legacy that impacts many, bringing pleasure and knowledge to the world.

So, there are certainties in life – the change that you can forge in your life, the chance to leave some kind of legacy behind for the generation remaining.   

Do you contemplate death more often as you’ve aged? Is that a natural part of getting older? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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