I watched a report, entitled Remembering with Dignity, on the PBS Newshour the other night. It was about efforts to remember and recognize people who had died while in a state mental institution in Minnesota years ago. When those people died, they were buried on the institution’s grounds; their graves were marked with numbers, not names. One of the people in attendance at a ceremony to remember one person said something that struck a nerve. She said: “The Jewish saying is that you die twice. You die once, when you do die, but the second time you die is when your name isn’t spoken anymore.” Her point, I think, was that the people who were forgotten during their lives and then dispatched with a number upon their death were being given another opportunity to be remembered.
I have heard that quote, or something similar to it, many times, but I did not recall when nor where. I went looking for the origin of the saying about which the woman referred, but didn’t find it. It’s probably older than the Internet can cope with. But I did come across this video clip from the film Stand Up Guys. It has its own power.