Don't knock on Death's door.
Instead, ring the bell and run.
Death hates that...
terminal (adj.)mid-15c., "relating to or marking boundaries," from Latin terminalis "pertaining to a boundary or end, final," from terminus "end, boundary line". Meaning "fatal" (terminal illness) is first recorded 1891. Sense of "situated at the extreme end" (of something) is from 1805. Slang meaning "extreme" first recorded 1983.
The word has been haunting me the last few days. The short story is that a childhood friend, one I have known as far back as I can recall from Girl Scouts and Marching Band, has been fighting breast cancer. She recently posted that the cancer has returned and that it’s pretty much everywhere. She’s announced that based on the diagnosis (she’s an RN), it’s now considered “terminal.” I don’t get to write this paragraph without pausing to weep. But I’m a big ol’ crybaby and tear up even during some commercials. We all die. Many of us have buried more than our fair share of friends and loved ones. What is a fair share? I don’t know but I’m sure there’s a country song somewhere that talks about it. I’m not intentionally being light but I’m thinking about this woman, a young 40s with SO MANY FRIENDS because she walks in and lights up the place. Why can’t mean crotchety people get cancer? Yeah, I guess they probably do too. But still, cancer sucks!
|Watching the hibiscus grow|
It has also become a reminder that you never know how long you have to get together with friends, visit that one cemetery you’ve been meaning to trek out to, go dancing with your fella, eat at that new restaurant, bring home a bouquet of flowers for the coffee table just because. Even this friend was given the diagnosis and then went out and married her boyfriend… just like that. She has never been dreary about the diagnosis. She posted silly t-shirts about cancer including one of my favorites: “Yes, these are fake! The real ones tried to kill me!”
The best thing any of us can do is to live… not exist but LIVE.
Last night we had a friend over for dinner. I went to our local cheese and wine store and bought the good stuff so I could pull out my coffin cheese board. Why don’t we do this for ourselves more often? We should.
Today I reached out to one of my new friends I’ve made in this blogosphere. I just want to be around people I really, really like right now. So today we’re meeting for lunch and (a big heartwarming sigh) she suggested that we stop by a local cemetery so she can check on a rose. I adore Connie!
As I’m weeping I know that this is part of our cultural fear of death. I can’t help but think about Anthropologist Kelli Swazey’s TEDMED talk , “Life that doesn’t end with death.” It’s 13 minutes but it’s completely worth watching.