Birds fly away from an open cage

The 'D' Word

It’s a funny thing, leukemia. I’m in the wait and watch stage so, for me, Leuk is still an invisible enemy lurking somewhere inside. And though I can’t see him, he is there–especially in my mind. It is so damn easy to let my thoughts slide sideways into places I don’t want to go.

I’ve been given many blessings in my life. Yes, I was somehow “blessed” with leukemia too, but I have so much more. How is it, I wonder, that we are wired to let the negatives in our lives overpower the positives?

How do we find peace in death?

Death is kind of a difficult subject to write on. But, it's the one thing all cancer patients, even the brave ones, think about. Actually, more than death itself, I think it’s the fear of dying that haunts us.

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We somehow have to find our peace with it, or so I’m told. How the hell do you find peace in dying?

Not all of us will actually die from our disease. Many will survive it. But we can’t help but worry. Unlike most healthy people who can go through their lives forgetting about their ultimate demise, we are more acutely aware of it.

The most important thing is to not give in to our fear. I’m not saying don’t be afraid. That would be like telling someone to avoid getting fat by never eating. Fear is a natural emotion. It’s a survival instinct. Without it, we’d happily stick our finger into a candle flame, or pet a hungry lion.

We can't let fear control us

But we can’t let our natural, God-given, fear reflex control us. Whether we pass today or live to 100, at some point we will have to come to terms with death. I’ve watched loved ones die and the oddest thing happens. There is some fear, or maybe it could be called apprehension. They didn’t want to die, but once they accepted it there was a sort of peace about them.

There’s a song by Blue Oyster Cult called Don’t Fear the Reaper. One line says, “Seasons don’t fear the reaper, nor do the wind, the sun, or the rain. We can be like they are.”

Death, for us mortals anyway, is a part of living. It’s natural to fear it. But we don’t have to let that fear overpower us or rule the days we’re given. I hope that when my time comes, whether by cancer or old age, I can say I’ve fought a good fight and I’m ready to rest.

Or maybe I’ll find this article, re-read it, and say, “What a bunch of horse***t!”

Either way, I don’t plan on letting fear rule my life.

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