Age is really catching up on us. Nowadays the body is not what it used to be, with the odd aches and pain here and there, and of course there are the frequent "forgettery" episodes to cope with.
In the comic, Earl was asked: "Which would you rather have go first, your mind or your body?" That's a tough question to answer.
It is terrible if the body goes first and dying becomes a prolonged process of being in poor health, maybe even bed-ridden, and worse still, being in constant pain. But with the help of medication, pain-killers and care-givers, invalids can still participate meaningfully in family life.
This is not the case if the mind goes first. I think it is very frightening for person to have no past. That's why people with amnesia feel so disoriented.
We are who we are because we are connected. Without our memories, we have no reference point for our relationships. We don't know where we belong or where we come from. In other words, we are lost. Our loved ones are lost to us and we are lost to them.
When the mind goes, all that remains is just a shell. You are no longer you. What could be sadder than being here and yet not here? At least in death there is closure.
If our life begins with our first memory, does it not also end when we lose our last one?