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On the Beauty of Death

Just heard that the father of a fellow Tea Lover, Kevin Rose, passed away today. This post is dedicated to Kevin. My heart goes out to you.

My own Grandfather, Roy R. Neuberger, passed away on Dec 24th, 2010 at the age of 107 1/2.

I wrote the following for his memorial…

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I’d like to say a few words about the Beauty of Death.

Borrowing from Aristotle, a Syllogism:

To be born is beautiful.
To be born is to die.
Therefore dying is beautiful.

And then to paraphrase Epicurus:

“……. death is nothing to us. For all good and evil consists in sensation, but death is deprivation of sensation. And therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not because it adds to it an infinite span of time, but because it takes away the craving for immortality. For there is nothing terrible in life for the man who has truly comprehended that there is nothing terrible in not living.
“…death, the most terrifying of ills, is nothing to us, since so long as we exist, death is not with us; but when death comes, then we do not exist. It does not then concern either the living or the dead, since for the former it is not, and the latter are no more.”

This echos the earlier words of the Bhagavad Gita (again to paraphrase) where on the battlefield Krishna says to Arjuna:

“You speak sincerely, but your sorrow has no cause. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead.”
“You were never born; you will never die. You have never changed; you can never change. Unborn, eternal, immutable, immemorial, you do not die when the body dies.”

Grandpa had no fear of death. He knew his time was coming and accepted it calmly.

But as a culture, we tend to fear death, to do our best to avoid it.
This is a pointless endeavor, for we will all die successfully.
And by living in fear of death, we also fear life itself.
For life and death, like day and night and yin and yang,
Are complementary and inseparable.
By embracing death, we can truly embrace our lives,
Transcend death and live in the ever unfolding present.

Grandpa has only left his body behind, but he still lives on.
He lives on in each one of you, and in my middle name
Roy R. Neuberger’s life is like a stone dropped in an ocean.
Just one man among billions
Yet the ripples of that life have travelled far.
And through his wisdom and generosity, he has touched countless people.
Artists and lovers of art. Investors and lovers of profit and loss. Adventurers and lovers of life

His beautiful life will live on in his beautiful death.

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Photographs of my Grandfather here.

Learn more about Roy R. Neuberger here.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • George Sakellaridis August 24, 2011, 6:22 pm

    I met your Grandfather only once but I felt like I knew him through my brother Michael who has been with him for so many years.
    I am sure he would had loved this posting.
    By the way, I love the new look of your web site.

  • Recordeau Philippe August 31, 2011, 11:23 pm

    Wonderful&fantastic work.

    Good Spirit.Artistic.

    Best Regards from Bordeaux.

    Philippe

  • Patrick February 16, 2014, 9:44 am

    The greatest compliment I’ve ever received came from your grandfather. He said,
    “You have a really sweet disposition.” Considering all the people your grandfather met
    And knew, I believed strongly in his words. Those words I will cherish for the rest
    of my life.
    So, my question is, how do you distinguish “a rock(s)” ability to create ripples in an
    “ocean”? Well, I’d have to say, it has to be a boulder sized rock.
    I met your grandfather twice. I was born in a National Park in Mississippi, with a population of around 800 people. I now live in Seattle, it’s 2014 and I still feel ripples in my life that Roy R. Neuberger created.
    Your grandfather was massive. Our memories for his love of life and arts are as powerful as the words you used to describe him. I will never forget him.

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