Which way to go?

14 04 2012

Is there a good way to die? I have just finished reading a great book ” The time Travelers Wife” and if you haven’t read this or might be planning to stop blogging now, in which a guy called Henry flits to and fro through time, popping in and out of his soul mates life. Henry’s soul mate Claire first meets Henry when she is about six and he is a grown man, there must be a reason why Henry is drawn to her as he has no choice where his time travel takes him ,so it must be some kind of Kismet. Their relationship ,purely platonic at this time, twists and turns along untill they finally meet when they are both in real-time and are adult. Their love, although encapsulated in this bizarre scenario is so believable that you naturally expect a happy ending. During a recent bout of insomnia I decided to read the next chapter of this romance and was surprised to find myself sobbing into its pages, never has a book moved me so. Henry has realised that he has never time traveled and met Claire as an old woman, he realises, and you would need to read the book to truly understand how likely this is, that during his travels he has died. He knows the year, which is some time off but is unable to tell Claire! I can’t begin to tell you how unbelievably sad this part of the book is but it did leave me with a burning question, would I want to know when I Was going to die so I could prepare for my own demise or would I like to just slip away unexpectedly?

Oddly while at the hairdresser’s today this subject came up. My hairdressers father had recently died from leukaemia and she was about to run the London marathon in his honour, this is going to be tough for the poor woman as she hadn’t expected to be accepted on her first application and is now training like mad. Had he been ill for long? No she said, he had only been diagnosed about six weeks before and wished he hadn’t known what he had.
On the other hand the mother of a close friend died last year of a heart attack, Carole had been fit and active, a non smoker and appeared to be in the best of health. Her family were devastated! So many things unsaid, so many gaps in their lives that Carole usually filled and they had not had time to consider the impact that her leaving them would have. But she would have hated a long slow death, so I suppose we should rejoice that she was spared that and remember her vitality and how she shaped the life that we still live in her memory.
In contrast, some people battle on with long illnesses for what seems like a lifetime. My sister in law Sue was diagnosed with a terminal tumour on her kidney, she was very brave and struggled on for many months. Unfortunately, or so it appeared to me, she was unable, even though she knew her time was short,to enjoy the remainder of her life as she was totally absorbed with looking for a cure, strange Australian herbs, visualisation, spiritual healing, hoping for not the impossible but the unlikely. Perhaps understandable as she had a young daughter who needed her, but very sad that her final days where so….that she could not have had more fun.
A good friend, Verinda, was cured of breast cancer, but I felt she was always waiting for its return. Unfortunately she was right and many years later it has returned. Verinda however seems relieved, I saw her recently and it was as if all her cares had fallen away, she looked so well and vibrant, full of life she seemed to have looked death in the eye and challenged it to spoil her fun. She will be missed, I hope I am as brave when my time comes.
Like many I have seen elderly parents fade away, I think welcoming an end of days. So many ways to leave, so many different paths and doorways, which one will be chosen for each of us? If you could choose , How would you like to go?








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