On the final journey (swimming the river Styx)

Since no mortal has ever made the return trip, none of us knows anything about that last trip across the river. Since the only two things that are guaranteed in this life are death and taxes, from time to time we all need to talk about both. Death has been a mystery since before people could write and the focus of writing ever since a quill scratched across a clean surface, leaving behind a muddled mess of liquid goo in lines of what looks like random bird tracks. All meditations about death are necessarily speculative, filled with metaphors and other poetic tropes which we use to mask the reality and finality of death. We seldom dwell on the face of death, deciding instead to close the casket, look off to the side, or close our eyes altogether. Philosophers, poets, artists have contributed to the mountainous pile of literature that attempts to answer the hard questions about death, but even that mountainous pile is little more than a big collection of guesses, speculation, and imagination. We shore up that pile as a shield against facing the reality that we will all have to face at some point. What we hate about death is the implied trope of change, and we all hate change. There are no guarantees about tomorrow or the day after, and since we are not in control, we fear change even more. Life will always be what you make of it, and death is also a part of life, so why fear it. Those of us who still walk the earth, are still saddened, however, when one of our number dies, hoping that that soul which once burned with so much fire, knows how to swim the cold, cold waters of the river Styx.