Space is something that I find truly marvelous in the most literal sense of the word.
Like these tributes to Opportunity that I can't even read without tearing up. It's a gosh darn robot, and I can't handle it.
Last words, in any sense, have that effect, don't they? But I gravitate a little more to the less grand, less sweeping kinds of last words. No bedside declarations or call outs to a higher power for me. My list of famous last words is dedicated to the incidental, inconsequential, sometimes intentional.
"Because the soup is getting cold"
Leonardo da Vinci
One of the best books I've read of late is Walter Isaacson's biography of the *maestro,* Leonardo da Vinci. It uses his notebooks as a kind of journey map through his life and his work, and ends with his final note about setting down his pen, as "...the soup is getting cold." It's a seemingly ignominious note to include in such illustrious company. But to me, it gets to the heart of humanity and the things we all have in common. No one likes cold soup, right?
"My battery is low, and it's getting dark"
Oh, Oppy. The last transmission from the little rover that could breaks my heart. And if I'm being honest, I don't know why exactly. It's not an object with emotion other than that with which my personification imbues it. Maybe it's my interest in space, and a bit of nostalgia and sentimentality, that combined make me very sad about this.
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
Sydney Carton (A Tale of Two Cities)
Sydney is one of my favorite literary characters. His is a little on-the-nose, as redemption arcs go, but the resignation in his last words (or thoughts, rather) is what draws me. He's tired of the charade of life, the work and weight of it all (no small thing in Dickensian England). As he sees it, this is his final chance to right the wrongs and misdeeds of his life by helping a family he loves. Or more specifically... a woman he loves.
"This is funny"
So many old west characters died with their boots on, except this one. Despite living the gunslinger life, and doing his best to die in any other way than the agonizing suffocation of TB, Doc died in a bed. Memorialized as the character with the most classic lines in "Tombstone" might be some consolation?
[to grow as more emerge]