I remember grappling with the enormity of the information. I was six, after all, and this was my first experience of death. But I’m pleased it happened. It’s something that everyone needs to go through. Had my mum met me at the school gates with a bubble-wrapped Smartie clone, and explained that there’s no such thing as death so long as a South Korean laboratory continues to churn out exact genetic reproductions of everything you’ve ever loved at tens of thousands of pounds a pop, you can understand how it might have skewed my understanding of mortality a little.
And that’s the saddest part of this Barbra Streisand news. It isn’t that the clones were expensive and that her money would have been better going to charity. It isn’t that she paid for them at all, rather than adopting a couple of strays from a shelter. It’s that she refused to let go. She failed to grasp the most fundamental point of life: it ends. And once it’s over, you can never get it back. Nothing – not prayer, not magic, not science – can replace what was gone. You can come close, but it’ll never quite be the same. Some things you just can’t run from.