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This has been a grim fortnight. Four people I know have died in the last 14 days. What was the message I was meant to take away from the events of the fortnight? That life is a journey towards death? That death is life's ultimate reality? That we never know when death comes and so we should stop stressing, start living? Probably. Then, a fresh thought came to me unbidden, unsought. It came with such calmness and clarity that I wrote it down...
My mother and I spent years discussing how we wanted to die. It was prompted largely by my father's death. While he technically died on a Saturday morning, his life was over Thursday afternoon earlier that week. He waved to my mother who stood in tears as she waved back watching the hospital team wheel him away for his bypass surgery. He told her he'd see her in a few hours, completely confident that he would return to see her smiling face.
When I was twenty-three years old my mother died. I had spent most of my college years dreading that moment, as the weekend I started classes at university she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.