The concept of a well predicted death is not at all pleasant. It doesn’t matter how old you are there is always something left to do, a sight to see or a grandchild to hold. A few months ago when the CT scan technician at the hospital told me he was going to try to get a hold of my doctor on her cell phone, on her day off, it didn’t sink in. Even after she said it would take a specialist and then a biopsy and, well, it all just goes down hill from there really, it didn’t occur to me that there could be a timeline involved.
No, the “c” word didn’t come up. It was something weirder than that called sarcoid, stage four. The first question is, are there five? The answer is drugs. Why is the answer always drugs? I declined as a collective gasp went up from the audience. Steroids are terrible. Have you looked at the cartoon drawings of Barry Bonds lately? The medical part of this story ends happily. Six months later, without the use of drugs, I am nearly sarcoid free. I wish I could tell you why and so does my doctor.
When you realize you are going to die it changes everything in your life. It’s not a matter of how or even when, it’s the realization that you are going to die. Geniuses, poets, philosophers and even actors die like the rest of us, but nobody wants to admit they aren’t immortal. So when I mentioned to a co-worker that the tests came back positive and I was going to live, he said, “Well, I hope that if you were dying you wouldn’t be at work.”
Where else would I be? I’m dying, but in the meantime I’m living. My grandson’s smile is brighter, the chocolates taste sweeter and there is no minute worth spending on hatred or anger. If you knew you only had a few hours left to live, what would you do? When my neighbor screamed his face purple at my little dog for sniffing at his grass yesterday I wondered how long he had. What a shame it would be if he dropped dead with a purple face. Can the funeral home fix that?
I hate to admit it, but I am not immortal. Death happens everyday and even though I can’t prove it, other people seem to have gotten through it okay. So I’m going to go on living and enjoy every minute of it while I die. Because I’m not sure there is a difference.