<context: 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”

“It’s true, I suffer a great deal–but do I suffer well? That is the question.”

Thérèse de Lisieux


I will begin with the thought that it is incredibly easy to flinch from “the fall” when ‘the fall’ is all there is. Look. 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. It is inevitable. 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.

Now. I am not going to be popular with aspects of 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 it is Death 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. Things are no longer limitless, but limited. Sure. We all know it 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.’ And you accept it. And in that acceptance, you deal with it.

“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

Yeah.  Accepting it gives one freedom. Like 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.

Look. 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. 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 disgraceful, 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 certain way. 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. Death, more often than not, touches you and says “tag, you are it.” Your horizon becomes less infinite and your fall is better defined. You didn’t choose this ‘fall’, but by being chosen you have to choose.

The question one must ask themselves at some point is … well … do I suffer well? I imagine the answer resides in deciding if the way one falls matters. Ponder.


“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

Written by Bruce