I am dying but I am incurably in love with living
The 23rd December 2015 was a day like no other, the day I have never ever felt more alive, the day my love affair with living took on a whole new dimension, the day I could, for the first time, hear my clock ticking, louder than ever. The day I was told that I had cancer and the day I realised that I was not going to live forever.
Is Life a gift?
Storytelling is as old as mankind and plays an important role in society. It benefits the teller who relives the experience. Whether the experience is good or bad, the telling thereof is liberating. It also benefits the reader because every story has at least a grain or two of pure gold.
My Blog, my story. A narrative, an attempt to document my life-script, largely from the point at which I discovered that I am going to die, and if nothing changes right up to the point of my death.
I have already wrote ‘My Last Post’, ‘Dear Gail, I am dead’, this will be published after I die, although I haven’t quite worked out how to make that happen yet!
My Blogs focus on powerful feelings and emotions I experienced (experience) on learning, and now living, with an incurable disease – Life. Terror. Ecstasy. Denial. Fight. Flight. Failure. Pain. Reconciliation. Forgiveness. Hope. Love. Peace and Death.
Someone once said to me, ‘it is not (just) how a person lives that defines their life? It is also about the manner in which they (choose to?) die’ He was alluring to a close friend of ours, Richard. An incredible young human, who suddenly, unexpectedly ‘had’ cancer. After his diagnosis, Richard also started a blog, quite different to mine but it was Richard who inspired mine.
I remember feeling, confused, angry at Richards friend’s, harsh judgemental comments about his best friend. He seemed to be criticising the decisions, attitudes Richard was enacting, some of which, as his work colleague, were affecting his work-life. Was he harsh, judgmental, even selfish? At the time I wasn’t sure? I prefered that it might just be that he was angry by Richards sad state, angry at his best friend for dying?
Or was he angry at the manner in which his best friend was dying? The Choices he was making? I suspect it was a mixture of both, but it made me think more about my own choices, my own ‘death manner’?
I was one of Richards teachers at University and later a work colleague, he was a star and ‘we’ offered him a job on graduation. Due to our age gap (close to 30 years), I, naturally, fell into a mentor, father like role in his life (his own father had died of cancer when Richard was just a boy). Richard is (was) exactly the same age as my own son, Aubrey.
Richard had grown up with is best friend. They had spent their whole lives together, as close as friends can be, brothers from another mother. ‘Best men’ a very special friendship.
It wasn’t long after Richards diagnosis, that I received my own shitty cancer news. Although, I no longer worked with him at that point. For a brief time, the remainder of his short life, we became cancer buddies. A very special kind of ‘exclusive’ relationship. During this period Richard told me that writing a blog had helped him, he found it useful, therapeutic, purposeful, his on purpose.
He was a young man, with a young wife, and baby daughter (their first child), a beautiful family with an amazing future ahead of them. Richard was (understandably) angry about his situation and inevitable early death.
He fought and he fought again and again right up until he died. He never admitted (to himself) that he would die. Everytime we spoke he would tell me about the latest trial he had identified, always planning for the future, death was not an option. I don’t think (near the end) his denial did him, or his loved ones any favours.
I still think about how angry and disappointed (in him) his close friend was about the way his best friend had dealt with his own death, more specifically, how he had conducted himself for the remainder of his life.
Has this had any influence on how I will deal with my own death, the rest of my life? It has certainly made me consider many things, some that I didn’t expect and, it has partly stimulated the creation of my own blog.
However, the main reason for this blog is to allow my voice to be heard after I have gone.
Thanks for reading.