Today is the cremation of my girlfriend's grandmother, who in life was so kind as to adopt me as a grandchild in my own right. I loved her very much and she will be greatly missed. It's a sad day, and I am fortunate I get to spend it in the company of family.

I don't usually put the words of a Roman on this blog, but I wanted to today, because it's a passage I love and which has been on my mind a lot throughout this process.

Titus Lucretius Carus (99 BC – 55 BC) was a Roman poet and philosopher. His only known work is the didactic philosophical poem "De rerum natura" about the tenets and philosophy of Epicureanism, and which is usually translated into English as On the Nature of Things.

Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based upon the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, founded around 307 BC. Epicurus was an atomic materialist, following in the steps of Democritus. His materialism led him to a general attack on superstition and divine intervention. Following Aristippus—about whom very little is known—Epicurus believed that what he called "pleasure" was the greatest good, but that the way to attain such pleasure was to live modestly, to gain knowledge of the workings of the world, and to limit one's desires. From "De rerum natura":

Finally, what great and vile desire for life compels us
To quake so much amidst doubts and dangers?
Mortals have an absolute end to our lives:
Death cannot be evaded—we must leave.
Nevertheless, we move again and still persist—
No new pleasure is procured by living;
But while what we desire is absent, that seems to overcome
All other things; but later, when we have gained it, we want something else—
An endless thirst for life grips us as we gasp for it.
It remains unclear what fortune life will offer,
What chance may bring us and what end awaits.
But by extending life we do not subtract a moment
Of time from death nor can we shorten it
So that we may somehow have less time after our ends.
Therefore, you may continue as living as many generations as you want,
But that everlasting death will wait for you still,
And he will be there for no less a long time, the man who
Has found the end of life with today’s light, than the man who died
Many months and many years before.