A Reflection on Death and Dying and the Nature of It All

Cogito Ergo Scribo
4 min readNov 11, 2023
It’s coming, for all of us.

My ex-wife’s father is dying of cancer.

It could be weeks. It could be a few months. He has cancer in his right lung, neck and lymph node, probably his brain and possibly his liver.

This is not a good prognosis.

It was sudden, just started last week, and then a whirlwind of doctor’s visits and the ER and to an oncologist and tests and scans and draining fluid from the lungs, and all of a sudden, he can no longer walk and you better call hospice.

He’s 83. It’s not unheard of.

These things happen all the time.

It’s sad and it’s not sad.

It’s sad because it’s going to hurt, for a lot of people, for a long time. There’s no way around it. There’s going to be pain. Lots of pain.

It’s not sad because it’s just life. Like I said, these things happen all the time.

My mom died of lung cancer. It was months, not weeks, but once the cancer hit the later stages, it goes fast, and the same routines, ER and doctor visits, hospital beds and hospice care, and her death hurt, she was much too young, lived a healthy lifestyle, exercised and ate well and took good care of herself, but cancer doesn’t care, the world around us doesn’t care, by which, I mean nature, which is really just a set of probabilities, a roll of the dice, and at 65, my mom finally rolled a set of snake-eyes and that was it.

She was the center of the family. The mass in the middle of us all that held us together, and losing that gravity, everybody else just spun out into their own orbits, in grief and pain.

It still hurts, not as much, but it’s been 10 years.

There are no guarantees.

My neighbor across the street dropped dead in a hotel room in Ontario, Canada at 52 from a brain aneurysm. He’d just started a new sales job. He was traveling for work. He died in some nondescript hotel room, alone, in a strange city surrounded by strange people, no doubt filled with some hope and optimism about this new career path, and then: BAM.

Dead.

That’s the way of the world.

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