Friday, 13 December 2013

It's OK To Sing And Dance

Pretty much every day or two someone in my online ALS group dies. It is the nature of this disease, and the nature of life. We all die. Some of us get to hang around for a while, some of us leave earlier than planned, but all of us go at some point. The challenge is the persistency of death in this small group. Every day or two, the outcome of this disease is brought home frightfully, completely. Someone dies.

It would be easy for me to settle in on this, become quiet in my life, simply sitting back and waiting for the inevitable. I could just stay home, watch TV, read, live a quiet life in my small apartment. Nobody could blame me for becoming depressed, continually saddened by the loss of my own abilities and the loss of life around me. Nobody would say I was doing anything wrong if I just curled up inside myself and contemplated what is left of the rest of my life. In fact that withdrawal is what happens to a great many ALS patients; either withdrawal and silence or withdrawal and anger.

I have a friend who may, or may not, have cancer; she is meeting with the doctor today. This is not her first round with this deadly beast, nor is it the only tragedy in her life. She has been challenged by much in the last year. She too has every reason to withdraw, to look inward, to climb inside of herself and spend the rest of her life there. She too has every reason for anger.

So what do we do when faced with the opportunity to give up, to isolate, to go inward and look out from this place of despair? It's understandable, acceptable, and even encouraged in some cases, that we should stay out of life, simply going away somewhere to die and not be a bother. Most people struggle with what to do or say to someone with ALS or cancer or some other deadly condition, not knowing how to respond to this coming loss of life. Let's face it, our illness makes many people feel threatened as they face mortality head on.

I say we should sing and dance. It's perfectly acceptable to shout with joy and laughter in the face of death, to have fun when doom lurks, to live a life filled with family and friends in spite of the rain. When it's over, it's over. In the meantime, I want to live each day as if it was not my last, but my first. I want to live each day hoping for another even though I dread the outcome. I want to be active, out there, doing what others do, living life as much as I can. After that, I will die. That's okay; everyone else will do that too. How many of them will live?

1 comment:

  1. You are so right Rick. How many of us will live while we have life. It is our responsibillty to do so.