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death Worst

The Worst Illness

Tessa at Weymouth beach, October 2022, photographed by me

I haven’t posted for 10 days because I have been down South visiting this friend here who is in her last days now of cancer. She is more than ready to go and is just waiting. I’ve also been staying with my Mum and her husband. Mum is 83 and her husband is 88 and has Parkinsons and is moving into early dementia. Mum is his chief carer.

I’ve had a few dear messages from people regarding my friend, most of which saying a version of “cancer is the worst”. Then I talk with my mum who is deal with deterioration of her husband and has seen other friends lose husbands to dementia and she is saying a version of “dementia is the worst”.

I think if we worked on it we could all come up with a way of seeing a friend or family member die as being “the worst”. Those poor people who got shot at that Chinese new year party in LA might be thinking that’s the worst.

But from watching my friend who is dying well I would say the worst way to die is to not be prepared and to fighting it all the way. My friend is at such peace, as is her husband and her son, and so that radiates on to the rest of us. She is calmly saying goodbye, tidying up her possessions, doing what she can and sleeping a lot. She isn’t of any faith at all but she has made her peace with the world and is ready to go.

Of course I am going to be sad when she goes but she has set me a good example, in her life as in her death. I don’t know when my time will come, though I am planning to make it as near to 100 as I can get. But when my time comes, whether it is slowly like cancer, quickly like a bullet, or many of the ways in-between, I want to meet it with peace, with knowing that all will be well, knowing that my estate is in order, that I hold no grudges, that I am at peace.

So I would say the worst death is the death you aren’t ready for whatever that is, which is also why I think we should keep short accounts, try not to hold on to anger and resentment, try not to spend our time going over our past and wonder what we could have done differently,trying not to put too much hope in the future, and just be our kind, open and naturally authentic selves.

And for myself to keep as close to the God of Creation as well as I can.