We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I'm sitting watching "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" during the holidays, enjoying myself and the general happy tone of the season, and I check my email. I get a notice from a college roommate that he has pancreatic cancer. He's happy, has had one round of chemo, and is in good spirits. Christmas was great, family is good, and he just thought my inquiry into his health deserved an answer. Admittedly, he's got the absolute best outlook on life of anyone I know or am associated with, and that goes a long way in situations like this.
I'm a fairly young person, or I like to believe I am. I've never had to deal with the mortality of any of my friends. Yet. Hopefully not for a while longer. I wish him the best, but his news got me thinking about how we deal with mortality.
I can't say much that hasn't been said by others already. I have no special insights or points of view. Generally, I enjoy dark humor and make jokes about this kind of thing. It's easy to do when it's not too close to home (though I certainly hope if things get tough with me, people don't hold back...I'll need a laugh and it's easy to laugh at myself).
News like this opens the door to taking stock, and that's something I'll be doing as I enter 2020. I'm not prepared (who is, after all?) to really think about the worst outcomes for a dear friend. So I'll remain positive that he's going to be fine. It takes quite a bit to bring me to tears, and I squeezed a few out as Mrs. Bulldog and I talked about this.
2019 isn't ending on an up note, so that only means 2020 is going to be great. All of you be well, and I hope your year ends well and gets better into 2020.
1. Direct connection between several short-sighted aspects of secular Western culture and the awful way it handles death. In particular the shrugging off of larger communal connections.
2. A "minor" heart attack 2 years ago was the wake up call for me. I don't want to be young and stupid again, but i sure do miss the confidence in my body and the sense of unlimited time. OTOH i wasted lots of that time and am much more focused now. And more compassionate.
Nobody on this earth is entitled to the next breath. Since that is an absolute certainty, there is really not much point in worrying about it. Work hard, play hard, laugh a lot, cry a little and hope for the best.
At 68 and having survived a heart attack in a couple of other health scares, I know that I’m on borrowed time which means I have no time to really think about it. I try to watch my health but not to the point where I’m obsessing over it. I’m not afraid to stray off the path on occasion. Unfortunately, straying these days means one extra Jameson or two glasses of wine instead of one. If I can’t do that, I’m not sure I want to be here.
I'm 76 and have cancer. It is a terrible thing to hear your doctor tell you that you have cancer. At my age every Christmas when I send cards to friends and family I know that there will be one or two replies that my friend has passed away. There is no right way to handle death, no "American way", no good way.