Sunday, 19 April 2015

I Don't Want To Die, I Have To Die

Louie died yesterday from complications associated with ALS, another loss amongst the losses. another wife who says good bye to a loving husband, another father, son, brother, sister, friend. It is not that we die; it is that we die too early and live with such difficulty.

Napoleon was wrong; taxes can be escaped. Just ask the very rich, they do it all the time. Or ask the very poor, they do it too. Death, on the other hand, cannot be escaped. It is the great equalizer, the thing which must come to all of us. As of this date, the only immortals are those who live in fantasy. The rest of us live our lives, coming to our end one day.

This is the way of life, an essential part of our journey. We must die so that others may live. Life itself would not be possible without death. Our bodies go on to become other parts of our world; our atoms are the only things that live on, living on in other beings, in other life. Death is the thing which changes our world, which changes one form of life into another. To live, we must die.

So it is not Louie's death which bothers me the most although it truly saddens me. I know it was a part of his calling in life, to die one day, just as we all will. It is not even the nature of his death. In the end he chose to live with dignity and die with grace, without machines or mechanical support. He knew he was ready to complete his life's journey, to do that which each and every living thing must do. He knew he was ready to die.

What is most difficult for me is the loss of active life, the shortened span allotted to him. His, and my, tragedy is that our lives are not our allotted four score. They are lessened through ALS. The sorrow is not that he died, although it is sorrowful for his friends and family. The sorrow is that he did not get the chance to see all which he had hoped to see, to experience the fullness of life, to walk in the sunshine that one last time.

That's the tragedy of ALS. We die a little each day, losing our ability to walk, reach, talk, laugh, even smile, and eventually our ability to breathe. Something is taken from us slowly each moment, some very slowly, some very quickly. For Louie it was 18 months from diagnosis to death. His journey was shorter than some and longer than others. No matter how long or short, he was taken too early, too cruelly, too painfully. That is the tragedy of ALS.


  1. Yes My dear son it is far too early. ALS is a horrible disease. I pray for you every day.
    love you

  2. You have perfectly expressed my thoughts about my own journey with ALS ...thank you!