One thing that I find it harder and harder to deal with… probably because it happens more and more lately is the vast amount of death going on everywhere. Makes me wonder if the end-times really are here and that Revelation’s predictions that the faithful would disappear is being played out here and that the disappearance is just the faithful being recalled to a better place. I don’t know. But the deaths of total strangers get to me.


A letter from an American soldier, Jesse Givens, who was killed in Iraq in 2003, to be opened on his death, said: “Teach our babies to live life to the fullest, tell yourself to do the same. I will be there with you, Melissa . . . Look at the stars and count them. Don’t forget to smile.”

Robert Falcon Scott, who died on an expedition to the South Pole, left a diary that said: “Had we lived I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman.” It ends: “It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. For God’s sake, look after our people.”

Moments before the United Airlines flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, passengers made tearful farewells to their loved ones on mobile phones, their conversations revealing their bravery and self-sacrifice. One passenger told his wife before the line went dead: “I know we’re all going to die — there’s three of us who are going to do something about it . . . I love you, hon.”

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