We plan our days, setting schedules and to-do lists, but when do we ever plan for death?
You’re diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and you have 6 months to live. If a doctor told you that, what would you do? I would guess anybody’s first reaction would be shock, and then trickle down the path of fear, sadness, and hopelessness. Then again, I don’t know that because I’m not in that place. But my uncle is. However, I received a call one afternoon given the news about my uncle, and that was the exact emotional process I went through. My first reaction was shock, shocked by the unexpected news. Then I began to cry in fear of losing someone close and dear to my life. Sadness and hopelessness of the harsh reality of my uncle fell after. I thought of how young my uncle is to deserve such tragedy, especially given that he has a beautiful wife and 3-year-old son. I can ask a million questions why this is happening to my uncle, and I did, but then I realized it didn’t solve anything. So I decided to have another take on it; change.
We understand the circle of life. There will be a beginning and an end to life. That is reality. But preparing six months for a new life is quite different from preparing six months for a death. Instead of preparing for a baby shower, you prepare for a funeral service. Rather than picking out a crib, you pick out casket. It is a little extreme on both end of the spectrum, but there is a commonality, change. There is change, an adjustment to something different whether to welcome to life or accepting death. The topic of death is definitely not table talk, but when you only have six months to live it’s a subject that will be often brought up.
To be told that you have a certain amount of time to live is simply appalling. My uncle now has a timer set on his life. His time is running out. Instead of preparing for a day’s worth of work, now he has to prepare for his death. He has to situate his family and business, and figuring out the logistics. Time is money? I say time is valuable. Time is valuable because each second passed, is a second you can never buy back. When you are racing against the clock, losing a minute is like losing an hour.
Life is precious. Every minute you have living is worth appreciating. Death is a part of the circle of life. Preparing for death is agonizing, but it’s also accepting the change. And the sooner we accept it, the more time we can spend living. My uncle’s sickness is something I cannot control. I can’t fathom the pain he is currently experiencing and honestly, it is not an easy journey for him or my family. It is a permanent change that we will have to accept and it is definitely a hard step to take, but when has the first step ever been easy? As he is preparing for his departure, I am preparing for my good-bye.
Photo credit: cnn.com