There has been a lot of press around the recent announcement that Senator Kennedy has brain cancer. The papers I have read and news reports have been good (very surprisingly) about not making any predictions pertaining to his future. Of course, there have been veiled allusions about what the cost of his death would mean to the Democrat’s one-person majority in the senate.

I have not heard any commentary on the significance of his illness on his family and on him. We need to remember that we are all mortal and all of us, despite what we want, will come to the end of our days sometime in the future. We all know this and we all continue to fight the inevitable, our own death.

Each one of us knows that in the final analysis we will die. We do not know what, if anything, will greet us on the other side. Some of us believe there is another life or existence waiting for us while others believe there is nothing after our life on earth. It does not seem to matter what our belief is, we all still struggle to stay alive, especially if our quality of life is good.

Some of us are fearful and choose to fight death while others are resigned or actually welcoming. Yet we all choose to make battle and fight off death as if it were an enemy.
Of course, this attitude can change, especially when we are suffering. Then, many of us welcome death as a great relief.

I am very sorry for Senator’s Kennedy’s illness. No matter what your political beliefs we all must acknowledge his many great contributions to our country and to the individuals in our society who are most vulnerable. He has never been shy about speaking up for people and he has always reached across the isle to work in a bi-partisan manner.

I know that many of us wish the best to the senator and to his family. Who but us, those dealing with advanced cancer, can truly understand what they are going through. Who but us understands better the value of life and the horror of cancer?

Joel T Nowak MA, MSW