What is the difference between dying and dying?

We, all of us, are dying
but only some are dying

What is the step between
this life
and the next

Is it like a step or a


into darkness

Or, is it many steps of a    journey       toward          LIGHT

Or is it

while those left behind hold your empty hand and shout your name
–in an echoed space–
and young children stand alone on the landing from whence you stepped, confusion fear loss fear hope fear sadness fear pain fear fear fear

in each



We, all of us, are dying
but only some are dying

What is the step between
this life
and the next

and why do we not install a railing?

©2021 Chel Owens

52 thoughts on “What is the difference between dying and dying?

      • Norah January 6, 2021 / 3:10 am

        I’ve concluded that I’ll keep asking myself the question until the day I am dying, or die. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. petespringerauthor January 3, 2021 / 11:36 pm

    How about an escalator?

    Liked by 2 people

      • Ian Kay January 4, 2021 / 3:03 am

        One good thing about that idea is that a single device goes both ways; unlike the stairway to heaven, or the highway to hell. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. johnlmalone January 4, 2021 / 1:05 am

    I wasn’t sure where this was going, Chelsea but I loved the killer ending ! [excuse the pun] 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ian Kay January 4, 2021 / 2:59 am

    A railing. That would suppose a difficult death. We’d have to climb over it and that would be undignified for most of us at our given time.

    A turnstile would be okay, an old one with a very noisy ratchet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 4, 2021 / 6:54 am

      You make a good point. Many of us are that noisy turnstile, while some descend in peace.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ian Kay January 4, 2021 / 6:56 am

        I was thinking the clank-clank-clank rattle would dispense with a need to toll the bell. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Doug Jacquier January 4, 2021 / 5:27 am

    I take it the first reference to dying is of the ‘none of us are getting out of here alive’ type dying. Whatever, this is one of the best pieces you have written, IMHO, unfortunately undercut by the throwaway humour of the last line. Too few of us are prepared to touch this ‘sensitive’ subject for fear of being considered morbid. But I see honesty in this space in the same way that I appreciate Dylan’s line that those that are not being busy being born are busy dying. My wife and I have discussed this issue many times and neither of us are much enamoured of clinging to life through heroic, but ultimately useless, medical interventions that reduce us to a shadow of the real life we have lived. Her fantasy is to sit on a snow-capped mountain in New Zealand, consuming a bottle of Baileys Irish Cream, and falling asleep looking at the stars. Mine is to swim out to sea with stones in my pockets (although my weight and my lack of swimming ability should be enough to do the trick without assistance). More likely, if we have the chance, is to proceed much in the manner of this story. https://sixcrookedhighwaysblog.wordpress.com/2021/01/04/the-final-siren/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 4, 2021 / 7:05 am

      Thank you, Doug. Yes, a bit of a throwaway, but not my usual since it came to me in the same helpless, bittersweet tone of the moment as the rest. A close relative is stepping down soon, too soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. D. Wallace Peach January 4, 2021 / 7:28 am

    Confronting mortality is an interesting journey, Chel. It seemed inconceivable for decades, but the older I get, the more present it becomes. It’s worthy of contemplation. Eventually, if we’re lucky, I think we become comfortable with the “not knowing”, accepting of the mystery, and incredible grateful for the miracle of our very life. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chel Owens January 4, 2021 / 8:09 am

      Yes, that is a beautiful way to look at it. ❤

      I admit more of the sadness, of late, due to a close family member’s proximity to that adventure beyond.

      Liked by 1 person

      • D. Wallace Peach January 4, 2021 / 8:22 am

        Yeah. I can relate to that too. Even for those who believe that death isn’t the end, the physical absence is a gut punch. I’m sorry for your loss. 😦 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  6. lenwhite1947 January 4, 2021 / 10:09 am

    Wonderfully, reflective and poignant, Chelsea. I’ve often wondered why we are only given an average of around 80 years to live out our lives when the creation process started 13.8 billion years ago and the sun will burn out in another 5 billion years. As the words on the tombstone read ” If I’m so quickly done for, what on earth was I begun for”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 4, 2021 / 6:03 pm

      Exactly this! What a waste of sentient living!


  7. Hobbo January 4, 2021 / 11:15 am

    It;s not a step, it’s a slide! And it’s steeper for some than others.

    An excellent post Chel!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. willowdot21 January 4, 2021 / 12:30 pm

    We do not fit a railing because someone will step on it and jump 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  9. hbsuefred January 10, 2021 / 1:36 pm

    Loved this! So right for our times and my (also maybe yours, too) place. In the words of George Harrison “all things must pass.” If only we knew when. That variable is yet another reason why God laughs at us feeble human beings. Sometimes He has a nasty sense of humor, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Michael B. Fishman January 11, 2021 / 4:04 pm

    You kind of lost me with the first line: “We, all of us, are dying
    but only some are dying” We’re all dying, each one of us, and at the same speed of 1,440 minutes a day. The difference is that some of us have a better understanding, or sight, of the finish line. Is that good or bad, I don’t know. Maybe it’s nothing? Maybe when we think about it it’s really meaningless beyond the moment. I think what’s important is how we spend those 86,400 seconds of each day. Do we spend them longing with regret for the past or shivering in fear of the future or being grateful for the present? Two things I know are I don’t know and neither does anyone else, and Warren Zevon was correct when he said, “Life’ll kill ya”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 11, 2021 / 4:41 pm

      Valid point, Fishman. Some of us are literally dying, like with a terminal illness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael B. Fishman January 13, 2021 / 11:24 am

        If my comment seemed flippant, I apologize. That was not my intention.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chel Owens January 13, 2021 / 7:37 pm

          Thank you, Fishman. I was not offended, just felt the need to clarify.


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