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A Death in the Family

Filed under: General — 19day @ 14:37:36

Death is kind of surprising sometimes… of course, there are the ones that take people by surprise due to the nature of the death itself, like a car crash or something, as you tend not to get a letter from your insurance company telling you they are upping the premium due to your immenent demise.

But, when there is some forewarning, you tend to expect it to count for something.. but it didn’t. A couple days ago, my mother was receiving family news and gossip, including one bit of bad news. One of my aunt’s was in hospital. The aunt is by marriage, to a brother of my father, and they both live off in the eastern canadas, and I hadn’t seen them since I was conscious of my surroundings.

anyway, the story went like this… my aunt, several months ago, slipped and fell while bowling, and had a concussion… they gave her a few brain scans to make sure all was well, and put her on medication. She, after that, seemed to have problems communicating, and balancing and such, waved in and out. Her husband suggested that it might be the medication itself, so she weened off, but it didn’t seem to help. A couple days ago, she fell out of bed… fed up, her husband took her to the hospital, where another brain scan (I can never remember which ones, but I was told) and they found a large, inoperable tumour. She was going to be taken to another hospital for some radiation therapy which might buy some more time, and get a biopsy which might indicate that it was benign. That night we heard about all of this having gone on… the next morning, we got a call that she had died.

Barely 60 years old, very active (not that that would have saved her from a brain tumour)… but still, those are the types of things that you’d expect to occur and then get the dreadful “you have 6 months to live”… but for her, medical science could only give her 6 hours. And further, the same scans she underwent only a few months earlier didn’t seem to reveal anything, while the new one showed a large, unmistakable mass… so even with the current technology for showing the problem exists at all, she would have only had a few months warning.

I’ve often wondered which I would prefer, to know I was going to die (with warning), or to have it happen suddenly. With the latter you just pop out of existence with the surprise you had on entering it. But with the former, you get the agony of waiting, but can put affairs in order, and have the knowledge that you are going to sleep and not wake up… as that is what I feel death is, a dreamless permanent sleep, and the fear I have is that you don’t know you’ve slept until you wake up. I don’t like hiding from the truth, or even having the truth hidden from me, so if I die, I think I’d prefer knowing it was coming, rather than it happening and never having the opportunity to acknowledge it.

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