This I Believe

Michelle - Reno, Nevada
Entered on November 26, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death, illness

Death should be endured but not feared, this I believe. Death is possibly the most unanimously feared thing in the entire world, but the thing is, everyone someday will have to die, so we fear the inevitable. I have always feared death, having my grandmother die was most likely the source of my fear, but even if she hadn’t I still would probably be afraid. And until this past weekend, I had assumed that everyone secretly feared death, didn’t discuss it, or just had no realization that they would some day eventually die.

The event that treated my fear, and perhaps prompted me to make this my strongest belief, is meeting a family that is going through a hardship. The father of this family has cancer. In fact, he has had it for nearly his entire life. Fifteen years ago, he was told that he would not live to see Christmas, and to hear that you are going to die within the year would most definitely change the way you look at life.

He told me that when he heard this he went out and did all the things a person would do, knowing they were going to die. He bought an expensive new car, a guitar, and of course, stopped paying taxes. “That’s the way to stay alive,” he said teasingly. “If you stop paying taxes, somehow, I don’t really know exactly, but somehow, the government will find a way to keep you alive.” He obviously didn’t die that year, and yes, he had to pay back all of his purchases, but in the long run I think it is better that he lived.

Now, many years later, he is in fact dieing of cancer. But the amazing thing is, he doesn’t talk about it like he only has a few months left, or even tip-toe around the subject like most people would do, but he talks about it like its something that you see every day, like a kid crossing the street to go to school or someone buying groceries. He lives every day like you and I do and brightens up the lives of those around him. I consider this man to be the strongest man alive because, even though he is in an incredible amount of pain, he still manages to make people happy. Fearing death is not going to stop it from happening, so one shouldn’t fear it.