We all die – one day, some random time, some random place. Sometimes we get a small heads up that death is imminent and sometimes we don’t. In the case of actor Anton Yelchin, it was a freakish car accident and wholly unexpected. Dead at the age of 27, the headlines say before launching into how he died. Anton may have only been 27, but he was able to make his mark on the world through his abilities as an entertainer. Praised for his kindness and charm, Anton lives on in the memories of others and his work. Memories are where we all live. We are never alone. We are always here.
A youthful death makes us take longer pause than say the death of someone in their 80s or 90s. It’s not to say that someone older doesn’t have a fascinating back story or presence in the world but youth turned asunder by death makes us sense our mortality. It makes us recoil. It makes us think of the time we have spent on this earth and reflect if we have we made the right and best investments in ourselves and it. Life gives and it takes. It’s a consuming process that sometimes leads people down dark alleys filled with potential terror or down sunny, joyfully-tilted days. It can feel all a bit random.
Death doesn’t take a break. There have been many deaths from David Bowie to countless number of victims of ISIS’s insatiable insanity. As you age, you feel the cloak of invincibility slip away to a nakedness. It’s a nakedness that gives rise to either of two things 1) immobility or 2) freedom. The immobility grows when a person feeds themselves with fear and fear of change. It is up to us to fight our fear and live and live well. It’s ok to think about the future but live well and live for today. Living in the present connects us to all things. It’s mindfulness.
As each life is significant, each death is significant. We can learn from both, and we can become a better person. Anton’s death reminds us that life is fleeting. As Anton put much effort into his career as an entertainer, we too have a duty to ourselves which even in the face of fear, we must do it: live. “Because,’ she said, ‘when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave. (Neil Gaiman, Coraline)”