I am profoundly grateful to know that my beliefs and opinions cannot change what “is.” I may believe in life after death or believe that there is “nothing” after death. My belief doesn’t change whether there is or isn’t a Hereafter. My belief is merely my attempt to describe what may or may not come next. To give voice to my hopes and fears.

This leads me to consider whether my belief about what constitutes “a life well lived” or “a death well met” has any intrinsic value. My immediate reaction is, not unexpectedly, one of protest. “Of course,“ I say, perhaps indignantly, “I lived as best I could. I took care of my responsibilities, lived a moral life, did what was right” – or, at least, regretted my slips.

But are we ever truly ready to meet death? On Death’s terms? Regardless of how we may have lived our life? As we see others near the end of their lives, as we may see our own end more clearly, we may be lucky enough to realize that “what is” coming is not changed by our opinions or beliefs.

This is a beginning.