Celebration of Death

This evening I've learned of the death of a friend. She "passed with grace and dignity" said her nurse. "She finally got her wings" her sister reported.

Digital Art by Elizabeth Munroz
Her name was Jill. She had Chondrosarcoma, a very rare form of bone cancer. It is not related to Leukemia. At least that's what the scientists say. Though it's proven there are a few genetic mutations in common.

I once had Chondrosarcoma more than forty years ago, and struggled with recurrences for many years before I was free of it. The fact that I have Leukemia now is just a coincidence. They say. I wonder if twenty years down the tunnel of time, they might say something different.

When I think of Jill, I cry. Of course. How is it I survived and she didn't? I had a lot of major surgeries to remove bones from my body, including partial amputation of the pelvis. Jill had a lot of major surgeries, that removed bones from her body, which included removal of an arm and her scapula.

As a child, I always thought the scapula bones were indicative of where we would grow our wings out when we became angels.When Jill's sister said she finally got her wings, I imagined her Chondrosarcoma cancer ridden scapula suddenly free of disease and back in her body all healthy and glowing as her wings formed. And she flew away free with great joy, celebrating her death.

Digital Art by Elizabeth Munroz
Perhaps it's a childish  whim of me to think that way. But, I don't care. It comforts me.

It also reinforces my belief that life is precious and should be enjoyed to the best of our abilities.

As a society, in general, we don't celebrate death. But when those who stare death in the face with cancer suddenly it hits home to those of us who love them, to celebrate life, at least for their sake.

So, tonight, though I cry with sadness knowing that Jill suffered the last stages of Chondrosarcoma metastasized to her lungs, I'm grateful to know she was able to die with grace and dignity. And so, I will celebrate life with appreciation and in Jill's memory.

If my Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia brings upon the cause of my own death, may I handle it with grace and dignity. Let me go quietly and peacefully. Whether alone or with someone holding my hand, it doesn't matter to me. Those who have gone before me will be there to take my hand. I believe in that possibility because of two previous Near Death Experiences.

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