Friday, 10 January 2014

The Conundrum Of Living

I had another semi-sleepless night last night; they seem to come in pairs, one right after the other, pushing me until sleeping is the only option. I was thinking again last night, thinking about how my life has ended up this way, what I have become in my final months and years, or what I will become, who I am and how I am. I thought a lot about things gone by, the massive events of the last year and a bit.

Part of my mind's wanderings last night were a reflection back to the days of my diagnosis, that week where fear and fate stepped into my life for good. I thought about bathrooms, leading me to remember an incident in the hospital after I had been given my diagnosis. While staying in the hospital, a friend came to me. She said I needed a shower. I was in a daze, still trying to contemplate what the doctors had said to me, still in disbelief, stunned by what I was going through. She simply took me by the hand, lead me into the hospital shower room, sat me on the shower chair and helped me shower. She was kind, gentle, and tender, taking care of me, respecting both my dignity and my emotional state.

After cleaning me up, she returned me to my hospital room and I slept. The next morning she came to help me get out of the hospital, aiding in my escape from the nightmare. As we waited for the discharge nurse I had a moment of meltdown, heaving great sobs and tears, my body shaking from the effort. Between sobs I managed to get out the preeminent thought that needed to explode from my psyche. I said, between wracking and convulsive cries, "I.. don't... want... to... die!"

That was a critical moment for me, a turning point really, where I realized that this disease was going to take my life, in more ways than one. This was the moment when I came to the crystal clear realization that I was going to die. The truth is that each of us will die, each of us is born unto death. Death is not what I fear; it is the moment of death, the process of dying; it is the transition. I can do nothing about dying; I must do what I can about living.

When my Dad was in his final days, we took him to the hospital; the many cancers within him were clearly winning, his body failing in so many ways; he was in tremendous pain. We sat in the emergency ward and I heard the doctor tell him there was nothing to be done. My Dad said "So we just give up?!?" The doctor replied, "No. We accept that this is what is going to kill you." My father passed away a few days later. He did not want to die; he knew he could no longer fight, no longer go on living. He died.

Nobody wants to die, not even those who profess no fear of it, even those suicidal souls standing on the precipice. They don't want to die; it is more that they are willing to give up their life for something or wanting desperately to escape the pain of living. The kamikaze pilots in the Second World War did not want to die; they were prepared to give up their life for something they believed in. The person taking his or her own life does not want to die: he or she simply wants to escape whatever is driving them over the edge.

I do not want to die. I want to live. It becomes more difficult as time goes by. One day the work of living will exceed my fear of dying. I know that day is out there, not visible yet, still beyond my horizon. I do not want to die; I will die. That is the conundrum of living.

1 comment:

  1. good blog today, thoughtful and applicable to us all in many ways. I like Chretien's version of the old song line (yes, that Chretien): "Everybody 'e wanna go to 'eaven, but nobody, 'e don't wanna die!"