Back in 2003, Ann Druyan reflected on her nearly 20-year relationship with Carl Sagan for The Skeptical Inquirer. The couple met at screenwriter Nora Ephronâs home in New York City in 1974, and were married from 1981 until his death from pneumonia 15 years later.
No matter what you doâor donâtâbelieve about the afterlife, Druyanâs note is irrefutably one of the most poignant letters ever written about the special peculiarity of love.
“When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to meâit still sometimes happensâand ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again.
Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I donât ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting.
Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous-not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance. . . . That pure chance could be so generous and so kind. . . . That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time. . . . That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and itâs much more meaningful. . . .
The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I donât think Iâll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.â
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