<thinking they hear King Henry approach the dungeon>


Prince Richard:

He’s here.

He’ll get no satisfaction out of me.

He isn’t going to see me beg.


Prince Geoffrey:

My … you chivalric fool … as if the way one fell down mattered.


Prince Richard:

When the fall is all there is, it matters.


“The Lion in the Winter”


“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Victor Frankl


I will begin with the thought that it is incredibly easy to flinch from your destiny and, yes, “the fall” is often in one’s destiny. We don’t often talk about ‘the fall’ because society tends to focus on ‘everyone can win’, ‘falling isn’t failing’, ‘possible resides in impossible’, and a bunch of other happy horseshit. The truth is we all fall. And how you face ‘the fall’ is a choice. And the choice you make about what you do when you make it matters.  Because when the fall is all there is … it matters.

It matters a lot as a matter of fact.

Yeah. Today’s piece focuses on the biggest ‘fall’, death.


I am not going to be politically correct with regard to the thought I am going to share. Pretty much everyone focuses on ‘living life to its fullest’ and making every moment count.  In fact. I often worry that sometimes we worry so much about ‘maximizing Life’ or being positive or believing the impossible can happen or you should always try to win in the face of impossible odds that we forget, or undervalue, how we fall says something about who we are as a person.

I say this because sometimes Life makes it where things get a little reversed. In some cases, some people actually see the Life finish line and ‘fullest’ all of a sudden becomes a bit more finite. All of a sudden ‘life to its fullest’ has some specific boundaries.

Sure. We all know a finish line is there, but for most of us it creeps up on us from somewhere beyond the horizon, unseen. For others Life shows it to them. It says “here it is.”

But let’s be clear. Even then you can see it and, yet, not see it. Or maybe you just don’t accept it. And that’s where I believe not flinching from ‘the fall’ resides – in acceptance. At some point you look around, assess reality, and see your destiny will contain ‘a fall.’ At the moment, acceptance can be a really really small quite room. And, yet, in that really really small room if you are paying attention you can find freedom lurking in the corner.


“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.”

Cheryl Strayed


Look. Destiny can be a real sonuvabitch, but accepting it gives one freedom. The freedom to choose one’s way to fall.

I am not suggesting you shouldn’t fight for what you believe is right up until the end.

I am suggesting that when the fall is all there is that the way you fall really matters.

To be clear. I fully understand that some people ignore ‘the fall’ because they want to focus on Life. Ignoring the fall as an undesirable event which should be ignored as if it will not happen is the way they choose to fill up what is clearly finite time.

Well.  I will not suggest that is a bad thing to do. I will not because everyone has to decide, individually, how one will face their fall.

But I will say this.

Will King Henry care if the prince is disgraced or chooses to die with grace and honor?


He may look at the prince differently.


Will it matter to the prince … Richard?


It is within that distinction in which acceptance resides. Acceptance makes a statement of who you are as a person. Acceptance is a decision. It is a decision, a recognition, that your fall will echo in eternity in a way you decide. It is destiny’s version of “the last impression counts.”

I guess my point is that one way of looking at ‘the fall’ is to treat it simply as an adverb in the middle of a long sentence.

Simply a word with the intent of getting to the period.


Like Richard the Lionhearted you can treat it like it is the end of a sentence.

A period.

Or an exclamation point.

Or a question mark.

Or anything definitive or declarative.

A way to put a piece of punctuation at the end of this particular sentence.


Richard states that it matters to him and he is going to control how his fall is defined. This isn’t about being right or wrong. This is about character.

We do not choose when we will die, but some people are chosen to die through destiny.

That is what cancer <certain types> does.

It touches you and says “tag, you are it.” Your horizon becomes less infinite and your destiny is better defined. You didn’t choose this destiny, but by being chosen you have to make a choice.


“Just remember, if you flinch from your destiny, you’ll never achieve your true greatness — you didn’t choose to be chosen, but being chosen means you have to choose.”

Charlie Jane Anders

Murray Calder just reminded me of this again.

You have to choose when chosen.

Choose to flinch from your destiny or not.

He did not.

He made a choice when he realized that when the fall is all there is, how you fall matters. And in doing so he showed us a nobler version of what humans can be. If I were to fall, I would hope that I made the fall matter just that way.



While Murray and I often chuckled as oldsters over business experiences, I believe most of our emails occurred during what I believe was his ‘acceptance’ phase. His struggle to face what destiny surely had placed in his lap. He knew I knew what was going to happen and he knew I wasn’t going to bullshit him with some happy bullshit. He spent a bit of time on my “not all setbacks are created equal”  piece but I could tell when he had leaned in on accepting and just got on with getting on. I was honored to be invited into his quiet little room of acceptance if but for a moment or two.

RIP Murray.


“When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.”

Stuart Scott


Written by Bruce