Friday, February 11, 2011

A reality check

Its time for a reality check. We are not worried about pain and suffering and disease and cancer and all that other crap. We are all worried about death and dying. In the immortal words of the chain smoking doctor Ted Danson on 'Becker' "We are all going to die sometime." (Wasn't that profound?)

We all know every human being is born and expects to live a good long life, savoring each new adventure, and then die at a ripe old age - saying "that's fine, I'm ready to go". Then life kicks in and car accidents, yucky medical diagnoses kick in, and long before one is ready, one is faced with the fact that 'the day' is a bit sooner than one would prefer it to be. This can be the result of something that happens to you or to someone you know.

The result is that all of a sudden death is looming in our faces. The emotional roller coaster kicks in. Its worse when its you and you have to face each biopsy, test, exam, 'procedure' (my least favorite term) or surgery and its ensuing ups and downs. You turn into your inner strength and cope. You feel battered and stressed. You are doing 'okay', no longer 'great'. You relate to people who are like you - doing 'okay, not great' - and they start dying off on you - of all the nerve!

The roller coaster of life keeps speaking up, with steeper hills, tighter corners, and without a seat belt. You start to lose the little lulls in the action where you can breath and gather your thoughts and feel your emotional stability get a little ragged. You strengthen your support system through people, medical professionals, medication - and sometimes that new foundation gets shaky. The stress ensues.

Stop, deep breath. Take a time out, meditate in the corner or run away to Bora Bora for a month. Life goes on. We are still concerned with death and dying. But we need to learn to cope with this roller coaster of life. Your death wouldn't be about you, its about those who you leave behind.

Last week was the anniversary of the death of a cancer friend who died with triple negative. Also last week an online cancer friend who was struggling with multiple physical and mental health issues committed suicide. This left behind some unexpected group stress as we learn to cope with yet another death.

We expect the nonagenarians to die before us. We expect those older than us to die before us. We do not expect those younger than us to die before us. We do not expect to be pummeled so often by the roller coaster of life and sometimes it just happens. We need our coping mechanisms to kick in and help relieve the stress.

Its not about cancer, and illness, and pain. Its about death and dying. We need the reality check to say to us life goes on and just need to learn to cope a little bit better.


Debby said...

This is true, and strangely, I'd already wandered into contemplating just this. There will always be the 'bad' mammogram, the questionable results. Pain. Whatever. I've decided that from now on in, I do not let the fear of those things hijack my life. Not even for a moment.

Cynthia said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Caroline, and my heart goes out to her family.

I wonder if this is cyclical - if there is something about this time of year that gets us thinking this way.

I wish you many happy distractions and a wonderful Valentines dinner.

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