August 18, 2014 2:49pm Either Way


Most of the time my friends and family speak of “my living, a complete healing, you’re not going to die yet, I feel so peaceful about this Julia.” However, not infrequently, somebody with good health and good intent reassures me how “fine” I am going to be. Someone well meaning who does not have a 50% chance of dying in the next two to five years, reassures me, that “either way I’ll be OK. God will take care of you, you know.”

Really? Of course I know that God will take care of me, His will be done, that life as we know it on this planet is transitory. That doesn’t mean I’m ready for the transit. I know this is a fallen world and everyone on it exits. I fully expect death to be the ultimate adventure but I really reallly really want to live. Live to be mother at my children’s weddings, live to see and hold my grandchildren, live to experience a few more movie nights with my daughter. Live, just live. For God’s sake, don’t you think that’s arrogant and extremely insensitive? For someone who is in good health with no threat of the grim reaper snatching them up during twenty-four weeks of chemotherapy, to lean over and announce your good forturne, your luck at being well taken care of and being in good hands?

I believe in a future filled with gratitude, blessings surround but it seems the height of folly for others to be so blase about my death. Reassurances that “either way I’m living” sort of bring me up short and make me fall silent. What can I say but “I know that?”

I don’t want to live “either way.” I want to live this way, this earthly way. I want more time to be with my family and friends, to practice medicine and paint and write. I want those renegade cells growing rampantly in my body to cease and desist, to give way to health, for the rapid proliferation and unchecked growth to stop. I want the uninhibited cells to balance each other and kill the cancer, for all cells in my body to come under the direction of Christ only. In other words, I want to live. And I want people that aren’t dying or aren’t fighting a terminal illness to stop telling me how fine I am, how good I’ll be, how great my journey will become. I’m not ready, at least wait until I’m on my death bed for this lecture on Death101.

How about just once, one time, somebody with good health, without cancer, looks me in the eye and says, “I’m sorry this has happened. I’d trade places with you if I could. I’d die in your place, if you wanted to live.” Sound familiar? It does to me, just ask Jesus. He did it once and I believe he’s doing it again every day, for me and for you too.

Take a lesson from a psychiatrist. Don’t tell a person who is 394px-Death-is-not-the-greatest-loss-in-life fighting a life threatening illness that it will be fine “either way.” She just might write a blog post about you.


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