I am not sure where I am going with this particular posting. The situation is sensitive, but I know that some of you have had to deal with it also. There is a member of my family who is battling cancer right now…has been for several years. He isn’t winning. He was placed in hospice this week so it is pretty clear that he hasn’t much longer to live.
Rosemarie and I will be traveling from Florida to Pennsylvania to be with family when the time comes. So we are trying as best we can to prepare for a trip, the timetable for which is totally unknown while its purpose is unsettling.
I have a “it’s not fair” attitude about this situation. This fosters all kinds of theoretical debate and leads me, as usual, to developing a list of questions. The big one is, of course, who or what decides who goes when…and why must the process be made so difficult for some, like my relative? If one is religious you must ask why does God allow things like this to happen? What did my family member do to deserve to die a struggling death at an early age? Cancer was a contributing cause of the death of my grandfather. But he was 84 years old, some thirty years older than my current relative.
The clergy is trained to offer comforting support of why things like this happen. They’ll claim that God really isn’t a bad guy who goes around letting bad things happen to good people. This never sits well with me. I know it does for others and if that brings comfort and understanding to an otherwise sad occurrence, then I suppose that is a good thing for those people who accept it. But I ain’t buyin’ it .
Some people say you are assigned a death date the moment you come into the world. I vaguely, remember being in line for a diaper and a pacifier, but I don’t recall a line for a death date.
And then there’s fate. Many people chalk off a death by merely saying “it was fate that did him in.” The dictionary says fate is “the supposed force, principle or power that predetermines events.” Well, if this be the case…then may the force be not with you.
Well, as you can see, I am like many people…I have little understanding of the whys and hows and whens dealing with death.. I will stick with my “it’s not fair” statement as far as this current tragedy is concerned. Overall I guess, I am one of those who proclaim the highly philosophical concept that “when your number’s up, your number’s up.” Come to think of it, this might work best for me because when I take a number at the deli there are always tons of people ahead of me.
But I do not mean to make light of a serious situation. I cannot begin to imagine how terrorizing it must be for a cancer patient when the disease has reached its end stages. The strain, both mental and physical, must be horrendous. And surely the burden on family and friends, much like the disease itself, spreads and metastasizes an agonizing sorrow and feeling of helplessness among everyone.
All that we can do—any of us—in a situation like this is be supportive, and most importantly, be there. …as Rosemarie and I will be when the time comes.