Every once in a while I google myself, just to see what’s out there. When I do so, popular searches appear at the bottom of my browser page and invariably one of them is Linnea Olson obituary.
Once upon a time it freaked me out, but no longer. In my community it is entirely valid. In fact, when Facebook alerts me that it is someone’s birthday, I go to their home page. I am checking to see if they are alive before wishing them a Happy Day.
BD (before diagnosis), I would read the obituaries faithfully. If someone was younger than me, my heart would catch. A premature passing felt both tragic and somewhat ominous.
Now, if someone has died and the cause is cancer–minus any reference as to what type–I presume it is lung. That is because lung cancer is still saddled with an assumption of culpability. We call that stigma.
As for my own mortality, I suppose you could describe me as comfortable. Not willing, and certainly in no hurry. However, as death has been my familiar for so very long now, there is inherent ease in our relationship.
In some fucked up way, this is advantageous. I do not worry about dying. It is life that keeps me awake at night.
Beautiful, impossible, difficult. Never, ever to be taken for granted.
And all the more valuable for it.