Life’s Stages


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Someone precious to me is dying. (Well, aren’t we all.) But he has cancer, Stage 4, and anything from a few months to a few years left.

We first spoke over 30 years ago. In between we would lose contact for years at a time, especially in the pre-internet days. Yet he would welcome me whenever I got back in touch. He is my role model. He showed me how to see, how to think, how to live, and introduced me to books and ideas I never would have found myself.

The final lesson is the hardest of all – how to die.

Have you ever bungee jumped? I haven’t and am too afraid to do so. It seems to me dying is far worse – you don’t get to choose when to jump, you’re pushed. And often there’s no cord to bring you back.

He faces his fears and just carries on working. Like another of my friends, he knows when and where the cancer has spread before the tests show it. He knows better than most what indignities he will suffer when treatment stops working and the disease progresses.

To me, he is extremely brave. To quote Mr Spock, “The purpose (of the test) is to experience fear, fear in the face of certain death, to accept that fear, and maintain control of oneself and one’s crew.”

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6 thoughts on “Life’s Stages”

  1. Such courage. I was with my father to the end and he was very philosophical, though he would have preferred, and asked his doctors, to speed things up. They would have helped if it had been legal. I look forward to the time when we can have some choice once we are facing inevitable death. Probably not in my lifetime. I wish you the courage to accept your friend’s last months.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Choice is good, I like that. To choose when to stop treatment, how much painkillers to have, and who I want to be with.
      I’m not totally with the choice to “end it all” though. I was, but I’ve changed my mind. Maybe another post, if I dare broach such a controversial topic!

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  2. There are some states in the US where one can speed up their inevitable death that is expected in a few months. A publicized example happened recently, when a 29-year-young woman with brain cancer chose to move to Oregon from California, and end her life on her own terms. Her family supported her the entire way.
    I do not think a conscious decision like that is easy.

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  3. I followed this case and I agree, a conscious decision is not easy, but people are deeply comforted to have the option, whether they use it or not. I tried to bring up some of these issues in my last novel (you can imagine the problems trying to market the story!).

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