At some point in our lives we all are going to face death. For those of us who are current survivors of advanced prostate cancer our death may come from our cancer, or it could come from another unrelated cancer, or a heart problem or any number of other causes. One thing is guaranteed we will die.
It isn’t uncommon for people on their deathbed or in hospice care to ask why we are sick or why is it we are going to die. Often, the question is why am I going to be forced to leave my spouse, partner, children and grandchildren. Nobody can honestly answer this question other then to say that it is the natural order and we all will face this situation in our time.
The question is often raised, why did I get this cancer. Is my cancer a punishment? Is it because I have performed some great sin? Why did I get cancer instead of someone else? I honestly cannot answer that question, but I do know that it isn’t a punishment.
I also know that my cancer has and will continue to cause great ripples in my life and in the life of many others. Of course, the largest of the ripples, actually waves, will effect my family, my wife and two boys.
I have learned that death is not something to fear. Everyone who has ever lived will someday face it, it’s no different then being born. We all are destined to experience it. What will actually be different is how we leave this world. We all desire to leave with our dignity and with love.
Our children and grandchildren will remember us through the experiences that we shared with them during our life. They will also remember us by how we died. As we die they will be watching us and learning from us. What better lesson can we give them then to teach them to die peacefully, with pride in our life and our accomplishments, and most importantly, with love in our heart?
This should be our final and most important lesson be could ever give to them.
Joel T Nowak MA, MSW