Tag Archive: death


Within the last couple of weeks, I have discovered something that I thought was true, but now I have experienced it, I know it to be true.
Six months ago I was diagnosed as having testicular cancer. Thankfully this was caught early and after having the offending anatomical item removed and analysed , I was told that I was in the 5% to 10% bracket of not having to do anything else.
Great news!
However, this was not to be true. Four months later I got the call that a CT scan showed that three lymph nodes in typical positions for the spread of this cancer were a little enlarged and I was going to have to go through a course of chemotherapy.

After following the sad demise of a friend who suffered from a far more aggressive form of cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma), and her experience of chemotherapy, I was more than a little anxious as to how bad this experience was going to be.
The course I was put on was a nine week course of three lots of three week cycles, back to back, with the chemotherapy drugs known as BEP. The first five days of each three week cycle was as an in-patient, then on day’s nine and sixteen I would go in for a top-up of one of the chemo drugs in particular.
After the first cycle I went home and felt a little under the weather, but to be honest it wasn’t anything more than the feeling of contracting a heavy cold for a few days. I was still able to function and think and do all the usual day-to-day tasks, just without the energy to do any physical activity.
Not too bad.
The second cycle was a little heavier, and so when I came home on day five I went straight to bed with a low level of energy, then was pretty incapable of anything useful for a couple of days after that. By day nine I was feeling a lot more alive and able to do most things slowly.

However, the ‘something I discovered’ that I speak of in the first line was learned after coming out of the third cycle (and I’m still in it at the moment – I’m typing this at day ten).
Until last night – day nine – my energy level has been so low that even sitting up was an immense effort. To walk would require something to hold onto every ten metres or so. Even just standing was so exhausting I couldn’t do it for any longer than a couple of minutes.
For a person who is used to leading an active life, I found this complete physical inability emotionally and spiritually draining. Being dragged down so low and not being able to do anything was quite possibly the worst experience of my life. It was like the essence of me had been removed… it was quite literally draining my life–force from me.

…and this is where the lesson was learned…

Something so important to my life… my feeling of purpose… my method of achieving self-worth and accomplishment… the ability to be physically active… having had it so completely removed allowed me to see that that ability is the very essence of what makes my life worth living. The loss of it is something that I NEVER want to experience again.

If life is most profoundly experienced by doing that which makes the spirit soar,
then death is to have that ability removed from ones being, and mere existence is all that is left.

For the rest of my life I vow to be active to whatever degree my body allows… because if I am not, then I am already dead!

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Untied

Lying supine,
the notes drifting gently into my ears,
eyes closed,
my soul caressed, lifted, freed unnoticed from earthly encumbrance.
Wings expanding, flexing, testing,
catching the breeze of floating notes,
turning skyward…
Whoosh!
Upwards, outwards, everywherewards,
expanding, speeding, soaring, accelerating, twisting, turning,
pure expression of being glowing intensely,
trailing a wingtip through Jupiter’s gas clouds,
speeding a hairsbreadth above Saturn’s rings,
teardrops of blissful ecstasy falling onto the sun,
then out and up past the stars, eons flying by, in a second’s passing,
flying alongside icy comets on their way to fiery deaths,
their icy glittering trailing plumes, a witness to their brief existence.
The notes of musical magic resonating in perfect harmony with the tuning fork of my soul,
finally reaching pitch in the glass of my being,
shattering, exploding firework-like into a thousand million pieces of glittering stardust,
falling, returning, drifting down through a peppermint sky,
completely and utterly untied.

The new battle

And so, it begins…

“The end is nigh!” they cry
for anyone caught by cancer’s snare.
Lie down, accept it, there’s nothing you can do.
Cancer’s got you, it doesn’t give a care.

I look on, incredulous, eyebrows raised high,
as the multitudes simply accept nature’s cruel gift,
…it must be accepted, cannot be denied.

The end is nigh? What tosh!
Cancer, you showed up early, announced yourself,
what hope do you really think you’ve got!?

I’ve spent 10 years waiting for you, preparing my mind, pacing the floor,
just in case you should decide to come knocking on my door,
and you know what, I’m almost pleased that you’re here.
Ha ha! Oh yes! I like a challenge I do, a battle, a just fight.
And you’re taking me on? You’re going for my life?!

Well have I got news for you sonny Jim.
I’ve got strength like you wouldn’t believe.
I’m a black belt in self belief,
with friends and family that’ll prop me back up when I fall,
to dust me down and push me back into the ring.

I’ve got all that… and what have you got, eh?
What have you got?
What. Have. You. Got.

Forgetting remembrance

Yesterday was November 11th – Remembrance Day, and as always, I found myself in two minds when observing two minutes of silence in remembrance of our fallen, as I also observe so many around me for whom those two minutes pass unheeded.
I always have the thought of “Why the hell haven’t they put in the miniscule amount of effort required to make sure that they each observe Remembrance!
Remembrance always puts me in a sombre mood, but in recent years it also leaves me with a smile.

What’s the smile for?
Well, for the very fact that those who do not make the EFFORT to observe the two minutes of silence, live in a world where they can do this!
They live in a world where the sacrifices made by those who died in the hope that our futures would be safe and free (whatever that really means today…!?), has become a real future… a future where they CAN be forgotten.

I think that if I had fought and died, I would have been happy that my children’s children and their grand-children could forget about my sacrifice if they were living in a world better than, for example, the one the Third Reich was trying to generate.
It would mean that my death had not been in vain.

Perhaps the forgetting to remember is actually an indication of a good thing… but I, for one, shall never forget.

The Universe is made of existence and non-existence,
interaction and change.
It cares not for the aspirations of man,
nor of his vanities, nor love of money.

The rules of the Universe provide the potential for utterly limitless creation…
this is the limitless potential of possibility!

The Universe expresses itself through form, radiation, life and constant change,
…and in one form of life, it even has the ability to look back on itself,
and that form once said:
Life is the means by which the universe understands itself.” – Brian Cox

“Dying is a day worth living for.”    –    Captain Barbossa on Pirates of the Carribean

As time progresses,
and we each grow older,
our eyes open a little more,
day by day.

When young we only experience and observe.
But with age comes understanding, and interest,
our natural tendancies leading us towards that which we naturally enjoy;
towards those things from which we derive personal satisfaction.

I have found that with age, and the more I learn,
the more I realise that there is to learn,
and the more that I wish to learn,
and that it drives my understanding of the world around me ever higher.

I never used to fear death,
the only fear had been of the way that I die.
But now I start to fear
that the ever-increasing reverence for life, building within me,
will reach a stage where the very idea of everything ending becomes unbearable.

I cannot see sense in believing that there is another experience after death.
I can only see that what makes me, me, will end,
that my conscious experience of the world around me will cease,
and that I will no longer be able to witness a sunrise,
a falling raindrop, or the changes of colour in the autumn leaves.

But as a warrior of life, and with what I’ve learned so far,
I know that with furrowed brow and a small, but strong smile, I should focus on the now,
for this moment leads to the next, and that moment to another,
and though each moment could be the last,
I’ve learned to love life, and I’ve learned it disappears fast.

I am driven by the old man in me,
the old me looking back in time to now,
guiding me every day,
showing me what I should do to become the man I wish to be.

The old man in me is an octogenarian marathon runner,
the oldest rock-climber, and experienced adventure racer,
the one who shows others what is possible, if every day you live to ensure
that you are still capable of doing what you could do yesterday.

The old man in me speaks of fond memories of past accomplishments,
and of the things that he wished he’d done… not regrets; just simply because he didn’t have the time!
He warns me of how short life is, and of how I will never get the time to do everything I dream of.
Choose your goals well, but never give up on the dream.” he says…

The old man in me speaks of people I’ll lose in life: of how I’ll be witness to the results of poor lifestyles,
and the realisation that a rich lifestyle comes not from wealth, but from living life chasing dreams!
He shows me that to reach my goals, it is me that must look after me… and that I will become what I practice the most.
…hmm, I wish I didn’t practice sitting down in an office so much!

At nearly 40 years old, I look forward in time to my old self, pleased to see what I could become.
Pleased that today, I already fulfil some parts of what I wish to be.
Life is a journey. But it is a journey to becoming old; at the end looking back over the journey to remember the best bits.
Choose your goals well, for the destination of your life’s journey is in the memories of what the old you will look back upon.

When I reach my death bed, I hope that I will be able to smile and say “Wow. What a ride!

Thrive!!!

For a thing to thrive, it must be stressed,
but stressed in a way that is appropriate to its nature.

I have written before about the Yin Yang duality and how for something to be ‘active’ and not ‘actively dead’ it has to have something to react against, i.e. it has to have an opposing force of an appropriate nature in order to exert its own nature.

We have all read of accounts where people have been close to death, not through illness, but through experiencing ‘a close shave’, and have said afterwards how alive they felt! Maybe you’ve been lucky enough to experience this?

Never have I felt so alive as when I was so close to death!‘ … a common statement.

The opposing forces here are the ‘forces’ of life and death. In order to feel most alive -to thrive- the opposing ‘force’ of death stresses one to do their absolute utmost to stay alive.

So, if you are comfortable in ‘the human zoo’ (Erwan Le Corre) and perfectly capable of coping with everything that your life throws at you, then you are not thriving… you’re not even close…
Get out of your comfort zone…
…go thrive!

Yesterday in the newspaper there was a headline article about the sad case of a woman who, after a night of excess with friends decided in her inebriated state to sleep it off in a car.
The following morning her friends found her literally frozen to death.
The article went on the say that these friends had been arrested for failing to exercise their obligation to ‘duty of care’.
(See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duty_of_care_in_English_law )

My first thought was ‘Why had the couple been arrested?’ considering that the woman had unintentionally brought about her death by allowing herself to become too intoxicated to make proper rational decisions, and also to be so intoxicated that her normal mechanisms of self-preservation (feeling the cold) failed her.
As she had allowed herself to get into this state, she is, in my opinion, solely to blame for her early demise.

Taking a step back for a moment; I believe that we are each responsible for the results of our actions and non-actions. The immediate implication of this is that no other person should be held accountable to the results of your own actions.

Therefore in a case such as this, the actions of this lady resulted in a fatal consequence for herself.
Even though I recognise that her friends should have been there to help her make the right decisions (however, they may have been just as intoxicated…), I strongly feel that they should not have their lives wrecked by the judicial system.

Before you all give me cases where a person is expected to take care of another, put yourself in the same position as this lady. Would you want your friends to be procecuted for manslaughter because you made the wrong decision…?

I wouldn’t.