A Year in the Death 4/1/21

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This Sunday, America’s 205 million Christians will celebrate Easter, a holiday that commemorates Christ’s supposed resurrection from the dead. As an atheist, I don’t believe in the Christian resurrection story. Therefore, this Sunday will be just another Sunday for me (other than the joy I’ll experience while watching my grandchildren hunt for Easter eggs).

But that doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate a resurrection. Mine just will be a different religion, holiday, and date. Specifically, today I’m celebrating Opening Day for Major League Baseball.

You don’t believe baseball qualifies as a religion? Then let me…


A Year In the Death 3/29/21

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Exactly one week ago this afternoon I stopped by my local King Soopers to pick up a few things after my swim workout at Lifetime Fitness.

In a matter of minutes, I had chosen my fruit, crab, and milk, said hello to a number of workers I see on a regular basis, and used the self-checkout, because of how small my order was this time.

It was a typical errand — one I have completed thousands of times before.

A few hours later, I took a break from working on the leadership book I’m…


A Year in the Death 3/10/21

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When I began this series back on January 1, I knew it would be impossible for me to post an article everyday. What I didn’t realize was just how difficult it would be simply to reflect on death everyday.

But I hadn’t counted on life continually getting in the way of death.

I should have expected this.

After all, my leadership and organizational-development consulting business was showing signs of recovering from the 2020 COVID-19 economic slowdown. I was training hard for a number of spring ultra marathons I had registered for. The work on…


A Year in the Death 2/23/21

Marcus Aurelius’ statue in Rome. TravelHS/Shutterstock.com. Image used under license from Shutterstock.com

My vehicle battery died this morning.

I was in the parking lot at our veterinarian’s office in Boulder and left the radio and heat on during our 10-year-old Golden Retriever Athena’s acupuncture treatment. I did so because I had our nine-year-old Golden (Apollo) with me. He’s much more high strung than Athena and was freaking out because he (mistakenly) expected to be taken inside for an appointment after she was finished.

I thought music would help calm him down. And it did. It also completely drained the old battery in my 2011 Hyundai Tucson.


A Year in the Death 2/22/21

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Although it is often attributed incorrectly to Mark Twain, it was the legendary lawyer Clarence Darrow who once observed:

“I’ve never killed a man. But I’ve read a number of obituaries with great pleasure.”

I thought of this famous quote immediately upon hearing about the death of Rush Limbaugh last week. And I was not alone. Millions of people shared the quote/misquote on social media , causing it to trend on Twitter for a while, in response to the passing of the divisive conservative icon.

I confess to initially enjoying a feeling of schadenfreude…


A Year in the Death 2/1/21

Me and Dad at the finish line of the 2014 Clearwater, FL Marathon

“I think this is it,” my sister said softly through her tears.

It was Sunday, January 28, 2018, and I was standing outside of the Hangout in Gulf Shores, AL watching the waves crash onto the beach. I had just finished running The Big Beach Half Marathon with my wife and dear friends Stephanie and Patrick from Jackson, MS. My sister Jean was calling from Orlando, FL, where she and my brother Bruce were beginning the death vigil for our father, who had deteriorated rapidly over the previous few weeks.

“Are you going to…


A Year in the Death 1/28/21

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Here, in the home of the brave
And the land of the free
The first word that baby learns is “more”…

It’s a nation of noses pressed up against the glass
They’ve seen it on the TV
And they want it pretty fast

You spend your whole life
Just pilin’ it up there
You got stack and stacks and stacks
Then, Gabriel comes and taps you on the shoulder
But you don’t see no hearses with luggage racks

I’ve loved Don Henley’s “Gimme What You Got” ever since it was released on his “The…


A Year in the Death 1/26/21

Megan undergoing day three of her chemo treatments

“Megan has cancer.”

I could barely make out my wife’s words over the telephone because she was trying to form them while simultaneously crying, gasping for breath, and literally howling in sorrow. Never before had I experienced such powerful emotions in Kathy. And I hope I never will again.

The date was January 21, 2016 — five years ago last Thursday. I had just left a meeting with my web master, who was beginning the redesign of my Marathon Leadership® web site. I knew Megan had a doctor’s appointment that morning to review the biopsy of a orange-sized mass they…


A Year in the Death 1/22/21

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I had planned to publish this on Friday, January 8 — only two days after Part 1. But as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, my computer died that day. So, I’m just posting it today. The good news is that this delay gave you plenty of time to contemplate the following short conversation between Life and Death (author unknown):

Life asked death, “Why do people love me but hate you?”

Death responded, “Because you are a beautiful lie and I am a painful truth.”


A Year in the Death 1/21/21

Grenar/Shutterstock.com. Image used under license from Shutterstock.com

This is my first post in two weeks. And while I hadn’t planned on sharing every daily contemplation during this year-long series on death, I certainly hadn’t planned on this long of a break either. But I didn’t have a choice.

On the morning of Friday, January 8 I decided to do some work at Denver International Airport before boarding my flight to Tampa. So I fired up my laptop, only to be greeted with with the dreaded “blue screen of death.” (And not the funny one pictured above.)

Long story short…after many hours…

David D. Knapp, Ph.D.

President of Marathon Leadership, LLC — an organizational and leadership consulting firm based in Thornton, CO. Learn more at http://marathonleadership.com/

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