© John Snow

About 56 million people die every year. Of natural causes, as they say. I do wonder what’s natural about it… To have more than 150,000 people die every day. That’s more than 6000 people per hour. And 106 deaths per minute…

Think about it: every minute 106 people die! It reminded me of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land.*

Under the brown fog of a winter dawn/ A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many/ I had not thought death had undone so many….

For years his poem was pinned down on one of the cupboards in my kitchen, among invitations for birthdays and weddings, photographs of family and friends, opening hours of the gym. I don’t remember when I’d put it up. It h’d always been there, it seemed.

‘I had not thought death had undone so many…’ What else is there to say?

Every minute 106 people die…

That afternoon, sitting on my balcony, warming up in the last rays of the sun, I look at my watch. A minute had just passed. In that one minute 106 people died…

Thursday evening. Waiting for the train to meet a former colleague and friend from abroad, I look at my watch. A minute had just passed. In that one minute 106 people had died…

Sunday morning. Cycling along the canals of Amsterdam, the wind in my hair, music in my ears. I look at my watch. A minute just passes. In that one minute, 106 people are dying…!

Why? Where is the rationale in that?


3 Comments, RSS

  1. Ton van Schaik 16-10-2016 @ 12:33

    Dear Alexa Khan,

    I read your articles about death and the first thoughts that came to mind were: no one will and can deny that death is a fact of live for every one of us; death means saying goodbye to your love ones and death remains ‘the big mystery’ together with the mystery of creating life as part of nature.

    In our modern world science, healthcare and prosperity are all going towards prolonging the life as much as possible, which seems to be a good thing if you don’t forget to add values like quality, dignity and social interaction. We also know that this is a development with question marks, but one thing we know for sure: life as we experience it on our planet is not infinite and eternal, so your are going to die!

    Imagine that we would live for ever: a terrifying thought to know that your life which you experience in this moment will go on forever and there’s no choice, no ending to it and mind you: you are conscious of this fact. Horrible and I surely would prefer death as an alternative…

    I was born in 1952 and in my life until now I experienced two events that brought death in front of my nose. The first event was a extreme violent robbery: I was sure that the last moment had come after minutes of struggling, but a miracle seemed to happen and I survived. Time and therapy helped to get over this trauma. A more recent event was the fear of everybody who get’s older: life-threatening cancer! The first diagnose, almost a year ago, was very clear: life-threatening tumors with many metastases… 6-8 weeks to live with no curing possibilities. For 8 days my (perhaps to say our…) life was lead by this message. But again, another kind of miracle: after biopsy and laboratory research I was diagnosed with a very rare type of cancer (GIST) for which medicines exist to go on for years!

    The (personal) message I want to share is the fact that in both cases – last moment, very quick – I accepted the reality that I was going to die and strangely: there was no fear! Also interesting is the fact that in both cases I had to return to real life with a completely reset of my new horizon…still work in progress.

    Good luck with your blog!
    Ton van Schaik

    • Alexa Khan 18-10-2016 @ 13:26

      Thank you for your comments, Ton. And for sharing these life-threatening events here; I admire your bravery and courage… Except, why is life without death such a terrifying concept for you?

      All the best and many more years to come. In good health, of course!

      Alexa Khan

  2. Kees Tamboer 25-01-2021 @ 09:20

    I just started reading this blog. So I have not yet a comment.

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