It is said if we could see the whole truth we would, on any given day, be able to witness hundreds of thousands of spirits departing the earth like so many lightning bolts reaching outward. From deep space this is said to look like a fireworks display on a well-celebrated Independence Day. Just in case I was forgetting the 250,000 other people who will die the same day I do, July was full of the deaths of old friends and patients. Deciduous leaves piled at the foot of the great tree.

Stephen Levine, A Year to Live