If you're condemned to death they have to give you one last meal of your choice. What is that all about? A group of people plans to kill you, so they want you to eat something you like? Do they think the food part will take your mind off the dying part? Or do they prefer to kill you when you're just coming off a peak experience and full of positive energy?
I don't know what it is about death that makes it so hard. I suppose it's the one-sided communication; the fact that we never get to ask our loved one if she suffered, if she is happy wherever she is now…if she is somewhere. It's the question mark that comes with death that we can't face, not the period.
We forget that we ourselves are a part of history, that we are the product of growth and are condemned to perish if we lose the capacity for further growth and change. We are ourselves history and share the responsibility for world history and our position in it. But we gravely lack awareness of this responsibility.
Betty Williams, a 1977 Nobel Peace Prize laureate from Northern Ireland, once witnessed the bombing death of Irish children, and a little girl died in Williams's arms. The girl's legs had been severed in the explosion and thrown across the street from where the woman held the bleeding child. Williams went home in shock and despair. Later, the full impact of what she'd seen jolted her awake. She stepped outside, screaming out in the middle of the night. She knocked on doors that might easily have opened with weapons pointed at her face and cried, "What kind of people have we become that we would allow children to be killed on our streets?" Within four hours the city was awake and there were sixteen thousand names on petitions for peace.