No One Gets Out Of This Alive

My mother-in-law (Amy’s mom) passed away last Sunday. The funeral was in Hotchkiss, Colorado yesterday. At lunch with her extended family, someone said something that stuck with me.

“No one gets out of this alive.”

I went looking for the source this morning and couldn’t find one. Amy thought it was Woody Allen, a Google search turned up Jim Morrison (due to the name of his book), Robert Heinlein was cited as saying something similar, but in the end I decided it didn’t matter. I just liked the statement.

We drove back to Boulder yesterday afternoon and got home around 9:30pm. We slept late and are having a quiet Sunday morning up in Amy’s office. It’s a beautiful sunny day in Boulder. I’m going for a six mile run in 30 minutes, we are going to have lunch at The Cheese Importers (where I’m running to), and I expect we’ll take a nap this afternoon. We’ll finish with a night in front of the TV watching The Oscars (and I’ll have my laptop in my lap, doing computer stuff while I pay partial attention to the TV.)

Basically, a normal and relaxing Sunday after an intense week. Amy handled her mom’s passing in an amazing way. It was an emotional week, with lots of ups and downs, and I tried my hardest to be present for Amy the whole week. While I blew it a few times, moments like this one show me what a remarkable person she is.

While I fantasize about the singularity and hope I live long enough to have my consciousness uploaded into something that allows me to continue to engage indefinitely, even if it’s a simulation of mortality, I accept the reality that life is finite.

When reflecting on the notion that “no one gets out of this alive,” I realize how incredibly fortunate I am to be living in the United States in 2016. I treasure my friendship. I value my freedom. I respect other’s opinions, whether they are similar or different from mine. While I get tired of many things, including the endless anger, vitriol, nastiness, discrimination, and hostility that exists in our society, I remember that this is part of the human condition and accept it.

Here’s to experiencing life to the fullest. Amy – thank you for being such an amazing partner.

  • As usual, thank you for sharing. 🙂

    Saw this nice movie called “School of Life” starring Ryan Reynolds as an inspirational school teacher who has lung cancer. He always asks – “how much time do we have?” .. “Not a lot.” 🙂

  • Charles

    A great post and a good reminder. The likely source is preceded by another bit of wisdom.

    “Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.” ― Sydney J. Harris

  • The awareness of our impending demise creates the necessary urgency to our actions.

    Without it in a future world of extreme longevity, I wonder if the human race will evolve as quickly.

  • I’ve been fortunate to attend relatively few funerals so far, but have found them to be paradoxically uplifting and thought-provoking. My favorite observation: “what will your friends say about you at yours?”

  • Sorry for your loss. I hope that Amy was able to say everything she wanted to say to her mom before she passed. They never really pass in some ways, but they are always with you.

  • Orlando Mac

    Thanks Brad for sharing this very personal experience. One comes here looking for a particular type of learning topic, and finishes with something even better.

  • My condolences to you, Amy, and your guys’ family.

    No one gets out of this alive…all the more reason to live life intentionally, with gratitude, and leave this world better than how we found it.

  • Thyagi DeLanerolle


    I had an opportunity to hear you speak at Ryerson University last year for your book launch. By the way, your book is FANTASTIC and extremely pragmatic for startups. Over the last several months, I have enjoyed your blogs but this one somehow touched me. Your love for your wife is evident and this was a truly beautiful post. I am sure she is happy to have your shoulder to lean on in times like this. Wishing you all the best. Thank you for inspiring and encouraging so many startups.


  • You guys now have an angel – and weird / spooky as it may sound, her mom (as an angel) will come into play in next year+ for Amy (and maybe you too).

    I am sure of it. Keep a look out. Seriously. Good and special condolences with that.

    (And Brad – you will be too – in a different and also similar way than you are now – but can’t see you ever really being gone – so no worries to that)

  • jerrycolonna

    Beautiful post my friend. Your last line reminds me of the first piece of advice Parker Palmer gives in this commencement address.

  • My condolences to the both of you. You don’t take anything for granted and that’s a great way to live.

  • Bob Hampe

    Great post, Brad. My condolences to you and Amy on your loss. Our time on the pale blue dot is indeed fleeting; here’s to making the most of it.

    “No one here gets out alive…” – Jim Morrison (Five to One)

  • Condolences to you and Amy. It is a blessing to appreciate every day and be present in life’s gifts. Death is not the end, just a transition to new realms.

  • I send my condolences to Amy, you, and your families. I hope watching the Oscars took her mind off things for a little while.

    • Thanks. We just got back from a nice dinner with friends. It’s awesome having friends who you can just be with and talk to.

  • “Death is a celebration of life.”

    That’s another one that’s sticking in my mind.

  • MusicWizard

    I believe that when we lose someone very close to us, they become
    tattooed on our souls, and they’re always with us, inside us, a part of
    us forevermore, like they somehow fuse with our DNA. We still feel the
    ripples of their kindness, humor, and love in our hearts, and that they
    extended to their family and many friends. We are grateful that we got
    to know the person and be a part of their solar system. We miss them,
    and yet feel them still with us somehow, and that gives us some peace,
    which I wish for you. God bless.

    And then there is this song, which has given me perspective in some tough times.

  • Jerry Huffman

    Yeshua (Jesus) in the Bible talks about life beyond mortal or fleshly human life.
    The trans-humanists talk about some sort of technological immortality which they won’t be able to deliver on, as you seem to hint at in one of your comments. The following video attempts to explain some why they won’t be able to deliver on their plans, from a Biblical and prophetic perspective.