What’s The Scariest Fact of Life?

My sister Shelley went to the wake tonight of a former colleague’s husband, who died of lung cancer yesterday. The man was diagnosed with stage 4 of the horrific disease only a few months ago. When I emailed Shelley to inquire how her friend was holding up, she responded: “She said her husband is ‘now out of pain.’”

One of the most difficult things about maturing (I hate the word aging), at least for me, is facing my mortality.

It actually gave me comfort to read that line and I emailed Shelley back, “No one should have to live with terrible pain that is going to kill them anyway. The mental anguish alone is bad enough. I am always grateful that daddy’s cancer wasn’t physically painful [our dad died of melanoma in 1988, when he was 69 years old]. Seeing him suffer like that would have been horrendous.

“If I’m ever in bad pain from cancer I will make sure to take so many pain killers all at once that I will die.”

One of the most difficult things about maturing (I hate the word aging), at least for me, is facing my mortality. I don’t want to be morbid, but it’s hard to ignore the subject of death when more and more people I know are getting sick and, yes, dying. And many of them aren’t octogenarians or nonagenarians; they’re decades younger, some in their fabulous fifties.

When I hear about young people, like the 40-year-old actor, Paul Walker, who lost their lives after taking needless risks, I am bewildered by their motivations. Doesn’t life bring us enough excitement, and normal risks, without having to seek pointless, and perilous, thrills?

As we approach a new year, my FOFriends, I hope that you all will take good care of yourselves, physically and mentally, so that you can live the best lives possible.

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