I don’t think that a single day has passed since my adolescence that I haven’t thought about death, my own death. Mortality has been a reality of life for me since my father killed himself in a drunken automobile crash when I was five years old. In my pre-adolescent years, I was convinced I would die before I turned 22; I’m forty-five years beyond that limit and death is a closer probability now than it has ever been.

Sometimes when I think about my death, I consider what it would be to die by accidental means. This is why I service my vehicle before long road trips, making sure the tires get rotated and properly inflated, having my service garage do its “88 point safety check” and change the oil, and making sure the safety box of road flares, bottled water, and space blankets is filled. This is why I stay behind guard rails at the Grand Canyon and Cliffs of Moher, and why at Dún Aonghasa on Inismór where there are no guards I stayed well back from the edge.

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