Stephen Greenblatt wrote a wonderful article about the Roman philosopher Lucretius in The New Yorker, issue of August 8, 2011, titled “The Answer Man: An ancient poem was rediscovered, and the world swerved.” A few days after the passing of Stella Love, I read (p. 33):
My mother has been gone for more than a decade, cruelly weaned of her fear of death by the slow asphyxiation of congestive heart failure. My father, blessed with a quicker parting, is long dead as well, along with the whole crowded generation of aunts and uncles who seemed at one point to be arrayed as a formidable bulwark against my own extinction. Of necessity, I have taken in the significance of one of the celebrated aphorisms of Lucretius’ master Epicurus: “Against other things it is possible to obtain security, but when it comes to death we human beings all live in an unwalled city.”
This so closely represented my situation and feelings this week that reading it sent shivers down my spine. I guess Stephen and I are lantzmen in this eerie territory.