I'm BAAACK! SE, prepare to fall asleep!
I just returned from attending an out-of-town meeting with a cancer survivors’ support group. Generally, I don’t do these meetings at home, let alone travel 200-miles to attend one. But more on this in a little bit. First, though, I need to digress for just a paragraph or three.
I didn’t intend to start such a ruckus when I told Silver Eagle to stop reading my posts since… well, you know, they seem to put him to sleep. The man appears a tad on the cranky side. It’s understandable on the other hand, he has to be somewhere around my age—dangerously close to 72 with the calendar breaking through the southern perimeter of the NEW YEAR.
You younguns need to trust me on this—not YOU, Longnecker, or any of the other regular old coots who participate here—the 70s usher in the age at which good bowel movements begin to do wonders for one’s disposition… if you get my drift. But, the fact is that we’re all entitled to our opinions and NOWHERE is it written that we have to agree on ANYTHING.
And, since I have no intentions of changing the way I post and reply on this forum, perhaps Silver Eagle should not read this as it most certainly has the potential for sending him right into a full-blown coma. Perhaps others, as well, may wish to take similar precautions. OK, for the rest of you, back to my trip.
I’m not much on cancer survivor support groups, at least not in the common format in which group leaders conduct the sessions. Mileages vary all over the spectrum on the subject, though. Depending on one’s perspective, they can be Godsends. It’s just that, given my experience with such groups, I’d rather take a different approach.
Like it or not, once you receive a cancer diagnosis, it becomes part of who you are, every bit like your gender, sexual orientation, and unique personality. But, the fact is that throughout our lives, we can shove tons of stuff into our emotional pockets and take them to our graves or we can decide to help people.
Since this is my fourth journey through cancer’s God-forsaken valley of hell, I’d rather be helpful. As such, I can’t do it by hogging my journey because it’s not just for ME to take. And, herein is my primary gripe with one-size-fits-all survivor group agendas.
Wherever cancer is the guest of honor, the gambit of clichés presented by the average group leader includes the same worn out themes: fights being fought; battles won amid wars sure to be lost; hope being clung to; agreements that “friends just don’t get it;” tears being shed; and fears being shared. Other themes appear, but these are the common ones and their prime directive is the easing of depression.
However, the primary cause of cancer-related depression is the thought of dying and the fears that go with it. And, until we find a way to discuss death and dying, head-on and in terms of related logic, nothing short of mind-numbing drugs is going to ease the depression.
Of all the fears shared, death (aka oblivion… in other words, NOTHING, ever again) seems to receive the most votes. But, for the life of me, I can’t understand why. Fear of death has never made my list of scary stuff and oblivion has never even entered my mind.
For me, dying closes our windows of consciousness forever. Once closed, we’ll not only NOT know that we’ve died, we’ll have no idea that we’ve ever lived. It will be oblivion, but we won’t have a clue. What’s to fear? Even if you’re a devout religious, Christian or otherwise, having lived by the tenets of your religious convictions, oblivion does not exist, only an eternity of bliss. Again, what’s to fear?
It pays to remember that the day will come when we’re all going to be dead. All! Of! Us! The time will dawn when there will be no humans remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything… worthwhile or otherwise. And, whether that time is close at hand or millions of years away, it IS surely on the way.
Organisms, single cell and multiple, existed before human consciousness arose and they’ll survive long after it ceases. So, the sooner we learn to stop fretting over oblivion and begin LIVING for the time remaining in our respective windows of consciousness, the happier and fear-free, we’re going to be.
My life has been pleasant; and, in as much as I’m fine for now, I realize that I’m no more than a simple blood test away from finding out otherwise. As well, given my philosophy stated above, death will be peaceful. But, like all other normal humans, the transition is a bit worrisome. But, when that transition begins in earnest, morphine can take care of this one, too. So, what’s to fear?
And, YES, I realize that the Pope will never endorse my philosophy; there’s simply not enough guilt or pain (aka suffering). This, too, is understandable as the man’s a LOT older than I am and even crankier than Silver Eagle is. Perhaps a good bowel mov…. Never mind!
Even if the pessimists are right, in the end, the optimists will have had a much more enjoyable trip through life.