Lexicon for the Bygone

Lately, during our 24-hour news cycle of “Pandemic Panic,” there is the broadcast of the daily death count nationally as well as internationally.  A macabre scoreboard that serves no one since there are no winners.  Only losers of life.  Depressing for the survivors.  Wait just dog-darn moment  . . . stop and ponder this:

News flash from the Gumshoe:  “Humanity has a 100% Mortality Rate”.

Grant is still in his tomb. Unbelievable!  Some pharaoh mummies have been robbed from The Valley of the Kings. They were already dead and then pickled. for there afterlife. Amazing! Zombies are not real folks even in bad Ju Ju land.

This should not be news to us humans.  People die all around our world all the time.  No surprise! Remember “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King?

All of us will eventually meet our earthly demise, sad but true,  like it or not.  Yes,  too soon for many, but not soon enough for some regardless of their political affiliation I suppose.  Die heretic!

Whether or not you believe in the after-life or eternity, or “nothingness”,  the gateway admission ticket is death.  No rainchecks!   Morbid?  Indeed, but a reality, unless your belief system is reincarnation – but then again and then again you still must die and come back again and again and still die.  Even “Groundhog Day” got monotonous for Bill Murray. Whoa! Once is also enough for Gumshoe.

I know it is not good to speak ill of the dead; okay, he or she is dead. Good!

I have written several past articles on my views on death. (“Things Left Unsaid”, “Selfishness”, “Death Notice” to name a few for personal reference)

Forty-plus years in my law enforcement career gave me many up-close and personal encounters with death.  I had to learn how to accept it and deal with it. Somehow I felt a selfish relief that it was not me.  Whistling in the graveyard?  Certainly, a very human response.  “But for the grace of God,?therefor go I,” can shiver one’s soul.  It did mine on numerous occasions.

Young and old alike in situ death arrives (not always pretty sometimes ) natural, disease-ridden, unexpected, accidental, suicides, disasters, criminal – all, for the most part, individual tragedies to be sure for the families and for the friends.  They never stop regardless of the season or the holiday.

Tears, prayers, flowers, whispers, condolences, cards, soft hugs, eulogies along with borrowed hanker chiefs briefly camouflage the stark finality of it all.  Move on nothing to see here that is new.

Good folks die way too young is really true.  We will always miss them and they seem to leave a hole in our lives and in our hearts that cannot be filled.

Time never heals the broken heart or dissolves the grief in Gumshoe’s experiences.

People use the phrase, “Passed away”.  I always thought, “Passed away where?”  I guess this is the way some folks can soothe themselves when they think of death.   It is too harsh and permanent sounding. Something to be feared and avoided at all costs.

Let’s just argue about the size and types of our coffins.  Let’s get the trailer hitches for our hearses.  It is still baloney no matter how you slice it!

In the words of poet Dylan Thomas,  “Don’t go gently into that good night”.  Who does?  Let me see a show of hands.  No volunteers? Gumshoe understands.

I have taken note that when I have frequented past wakes, the cornucopia of food just disappears in short order by the famished mourners.  Do funerals really stimulate hunger pains?

Maybe folks feel that a full belly would ward off that faceless guy dressed in that monk’s robe and bearing that scythe?  Hard to run fast with an over-stuffed gut.  Just maybe a physical affirmation of life?

I think that the unnamed ancient Roman Orator had it right when he said, “Mors, certa – hora, incerta.” (Death is certain, the hour is not.)

Uncertainty is certain.  “Dead men tell no tales” is a recorded Cockney accented voice that you hear as you motor along the Pirates of the Caribbean at D-land as well as in real life.  Yo-ho the pirate life for me!

Eat, drink, and be merry my friends for (maybe) tomorrow we die.  Absolutely!

When you study the great paintings of ancient saints, why did the artist depict the saints gaze at a  well-worn human skull on their saintly desks?  Possibly a reminder of their mortality? The saints along with the artists knew the truth,  death was certain, their lives are merely preparation for it.  Maybe we all can take heed and take a bended knee and contemplate our finale?

Live your life with joy and make a difference now. The worms can wait for their feast me thinks.  Forget about that macabre, infernal scoreboard.  Remember The Fidler on the Roof “L’Chaim!” (To Life!) my friends.

Well, that’s the way Gumshoe sees it, my gentle readers.  Remember to always love the ones who love you and even love the ones that don’t.


Danny Pitocco
Danny Pitocco
RETIRED (as a Detective with the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State), Danny has over forty years of law enforcement experience across city, county, state and federal levels of government, including service as a Special Agent for the DEA, US Department of Justice. He’s a decorated law enforcement veteran, and recipient of the "Detective of the Year" award for Snohomish County, Danny is a certified composite artist and has testified as an expert witness in the field of narcotics and modus operandi of particular crimes in state and federal courts in California, and has given testimony before federal grand juries. Danny served four years of active duty in the US Marine Corps and loves Jesus as his personal savior.

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  1. Death is just moving into the presence of God, and my thoughts of what I have learned through the Saints and through Holy Scripture, Death itself is not what scares people, but how they will end their lives, what they will learn and answer to for their time on earth that will decide Heaven or Hell. Period. It is in Death that I will see God. Great article babe.

    • It is appointed that all will die and then comes judgement. It is the eternal death that one should fear! Thanks wifey for your comment.

    • ……..the PS was supposed to go AFTER my first comment…..but, well, it didn’t cause I posted a new reply rather than hit ‘edit’.

  2. In the words of Woody Allen, “I don’t mind dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

    But I much prefer the eternal words of the apostle Paul, “But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:

    Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
    Who got the last word, oh, Death?
    Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?
    It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!
    1 Corinthians 15:54-57 (The Message)