“I wanted to do my bit to change things around, to win back some dignity for the dying, because I don’t think silence serves the interests of any of us.” - Cory Taylor

I recently read a powerful piece in The New Yorker by author Cory Taylor. It was an excerpt from her book “Dying: A Memoir” and in it, Taylor reflects on an interview she once gave in which she answered people’s everyday questions about dying.

Having been diagnosed with cancer, these were questions she had already begun to answer for herself.

What struck me about Taylor’s answers wasn’t what she said but how she said it. You can feel through her writing the sense of clarity and peace she felt with her own mortality.

Taylor’s diagnosis was sad and unfortunate, and she ultimately passed away in July of 2016. But her pending death was a fate she appeared to face with two feet firmly on the ground.

Here are a few of her answers that particularly struck me:

When asked if she was scared of dying: “Yes, I’m scared, but not all the time. When I was first diagnosed, I was terrified. I had no idea that the body could turn against itself and incubate its own enemy ...

… But I’m used to dying now. It’s become ordinary and unremarkable, something everybody, without exception, does at one time or another.”

When asked if she had regrets: “Yes, I have regrets, but as soon as you start rewriting your past you realize how your failures and mistakes are what define you. Take them away and you’re nothing.”

When asked if there’s anything good about dying: “No, there is nothing good about dying. It is sad beyond belief. But it is part of life, and there is no escaping it. Once you grasp that fact, good things can result.”

Taylor’s words remind me that coming to terms with dying can be the thing that enables us to really start living.

It’s an inescapable reality that can force us to rethink what we want from life and take agency over the limited time we have left.

Dave Radparvar
Co-Founder, Holstee

P.S.  Author, David Brooks, has also spoken about how thinking about death can impact the way you live your life. We share some of his wisdom in our Welcome Guide for the Holstee Membership.

Begin your day feeling grounded and inspired.

A free 30-day email series where we share the most impactful stories and ideas that have helped us on our journey to live a more meaningful life.

✌️ Free. Unsubscribe anytime.

Welcome to Holstee

Our monthly membership helps conscious people (like you!) live a more meaningful life through actionable guide, inspiring art, thought-provoking content and a like-minded community.


This article is part of our series on the theme of Welcome.

EXPLORE Welcome →

Our Themes

Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.