How Many Times Do We Die?

By Ilya Katrinnada

In Glorious, Macklemore raps,
“I heard you die twice, once when they bury you in the grave
And the second time is the last time somebody mentions your name.”

A contributor on mentions that these two lines are references to Irvin D. Yalom, who writes in his book Love’s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy,
“Some day soon, perhaps in forty years, there will be no one alive who has ever known me. That’s when I will be truly dead — when I exist in no one’s memory. I thought a lot about how someone very old is the last living individual to have known some person or cluster of people. When that person dies, the whole cluster dies, too, vanishes from the living memory. I wonder who that person will be for me. Whose death will make me truly dead?”

Banksy also said something similar before,
“I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.”

In Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, David Eagleman writes that we die thrice.
“There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”

But then I remember a quote, which I now know was said by Imam Hasan Al-Basri, that goes,
“Son of Adam, you are nothing but a number of days, and whenever a day passes away, a part of you passes away.”

Does it then mean that we die every day?

When I asked a friend this question, she said,
“Maybe we don’t die every day. But we’re dying.”

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