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Everybody Dies, With or Without Cancer

Cancer may throw off a "plan" of where, when, why and how death happens. 
BY Becky Hawley
PUBLISHED April 22, 2016
Editor’s Note: This piece was submitted by a contributing writer and does not represent the views of CURE Media Group.
Everybody dies. It’s simply a matter of where, when, why and how. Most of us have preconceived ideas about these variables. I know I did. My grandparents lived to around 90, as did my father and my mother is going strong at 85. I’m 62. I planned for a full life and thought, should my savings run out before 90, I would go to work as a Walmart greeter.

In my mind, that summed up the “when.” As for the “where, why and how” of my ending, I have said for many years, I would like to die on a cruise ship from overeating. It could be either quietly in my bed or whirling on the dance floor. But suddenly this summer, a bomb went off, blasting away my sense of longevity.

Between a breast cancer diagnosis and the treatments, I now know that I may not make the full 90 years, and am unsure if I even want to. I’ve always known some kind of accident could take my life or an injury may shorten it. The “when” of my demise has always been a big unanswerable question and even with cancer, that part of the equation is still in limbo as it always has been. The great mysteries of “where, why and how” are still as up in the air, as much as they always have been.

In the grand scheme of things, no matter what my preconceived idea of my allotted time has been, not much has changed. I still may be hit by a truck tomorrow and that’s that. The scar that cancer has gouged into my life cannot be healed until I come to terms with what it means for my future. It’s time to be pragmatic. I need to understand my sense of impending doom and not let it ruin my life. I can choose to live everyday as though it were the first and the last day of my life. I can expect the best and plan for the worst, the way I always have. I can enjoy the things I have always enjoyed and look forward to discovering more. I will not be alone in this journey. Friends and family are with me in my journey through life, no matter the where, when, why and how of it. As a “heathen,” I believe that only those who choose suicide are privy to answers to these four questions and there may come a time when I choose to answer the questions for myself.

But not today. I feel hopeful. Not the end.
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