I'm Not Ready to Die

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We all know someday we must die. In my mind I was certain I would die of old age, having lived a happy full life. I'd be ready to die, ready to relinquish my aged bones. In my mind the children I don't even have are all raised and will live on to remember me. They all have wonderful jobs and families of their own. A peaceful, resigned death. The funeral is full of people muttering, "She lived such a full life." That's the way it would be; complete, fair.

I'm not delusional. I just believe that we, as a species, are ill-equipped to handle thoughts of our impending doom. And try as I might to rationalize it, I have had an excruciatingly difficult time trying to accept and find peace in my own mortality as a young woman being devoured by an incurable disease. I am sure I am not alone.

I have advanced metastatic kidney cancer that is in my liver and my bones. I'm not ready to die. I am so in love with my husband, my family, my job, my friends, my life and I don't want to leave. But despite all the doctors' efforts my cancer has progressed. I am left to joking to cover the pain and crippling effects on my psyche. "Oh, you're handling all of this so well," I hear people tell me. "You have such a joy of life," the lab tech proclaims. Some days it is true and I do well. But then there are times where tears just stream down my face as I feel the crushing reality that I can only last as long as my liver holds out from the onslaught against it. It is my desperate plight to find my peace in this situation, to remind myself that death is a natural part of life, even as that peace proves to be more elusive than I expected.

'Life's not fair' says the old adage. True enough. In my case, however, I am left simply feeling that death isn't fair, either. 

With a Perspective, I'm Laura Weiss-Lampert.


Laura Weiss-Lampert is a Montessori teacher. She lives in San Jose.