Dealing with mortality....

Early this morning my mother told me that my cousin, her sister's son, just passed away. He died from complications arising from pneumonia in relation to bone cancer which was diagnosed only a month or so ago. He was 59. He was a chain smoker, and the initial fear was that he had lung cancer. It wasn't, but it was just as bad. He left behind a loving family which stayed at his side until the end. May the Lord God bless his soul and his family.

Sometimes we tend to forget that death is as much a part of life as everything else. Death is a certainty that we tend to turn a blind eye to, until it blindsides us when we least expect it...perhaps on a rainy Friday evening, or a sunny Tuesday afternoon. We're all dying, as it were. Only at different rates.

Lately it seems that I have been seeing death rear its scythe more often than usual. It was only two weeks ago when former Senator Raul Roco died, after a 10 year battle with prostate cancer which eventually metastasized into his bones. I also recently heard some disturbing news about an officemate who was recently diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Don't ask me who. I was sworn to secrecy.

It also brings back memories of another former officemate, who passed away early last year from leukemia. He was a good friend's spouse, and he was even younger than I was at the time. It was a short battle. It was only a few months from the time he was diagnosed to the time he passed away.

I remember another officemate who died a number of years ago from cancer which started out as an innocent-looking growth on his face. Eventually it spread to his brain. He died at the age of 25.

I really have no idea if the incidence of cancer is on the rise, but it seems like it. I guess it's a normal occurence as you grow old that people you know...your seniors, your contemporaries, they start passing away. And then you don't quite feel as immortal as you did when you were young. In the past you thought you would live forever. Now, you know better.

Death is a certainty, just like taxes, as people are fond of saying. Yet that doesn't really make it any easier to deal with. Life is too short to waste. Let us make the most of it because sooner or later, it will be our time. And we should try our best to be ready for it, in however which way we can.

Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live.

- Henry Van Dyke


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