posted on Jul, 15 2008 @ 01:13 AM
One of my friends was diagnosed with cancer of the liver a few months ago. His doctor has told him that, even with 'management', he has at most two
years to live.
He's taking the whole thing very calmly. Looking at and talking to him, I am constantly amazed by his equanimity in the face of his death-sentence.
It's true he hasn't got any unfinished business -- he's retired, his only daughter is an independent adult, he's been divorced and single for many
years -- but I'm still impressed by how calmly he's taking it. He's certainly thinking about death, though: among the books on his bedside table
are the Bardo Thodol, some Buddhist sutras and Gerald Messadié's History of the Devil.
I don't believe that, handed such a death-sentence, I should be able to accept it with such equanimity.
Another friend, about the same age as the first, was examined following an angina attack and told he needed a six-way bypass operation. He was amazed
at this, since (despite a previous heart attack some ten years ago) was in excellent health and taking care of himself well. He was deeply involved in
life -- a writer, artist and film-maker, a man who spent at least half of every year living travelling off the beaten track, mostly on foot, with the
poorest people -- nomadic beggars and Hindu holy men, forest-dwellers and the like -- and building a wilderness resort up in the mountains which was
to be his retirement policy in old age. Here was a guy who lived every minute as if it was to be his last -- married for a second time in his fifties
to a beautiful English wife, with whom he had had two infant children. A man with everything to lose (except he never cared about that, never) and
everything to live for.
He submitted to the recommended procedure (which was carried out in Singapore) and died on the operating table. Basically, he went to sleep and never
woke up. I'd say that was good way to go -- except, of course, for those he left behind. But that wasn't his fault.
No, please don't tell me when it's time. I want it to be a surprise.