Question: When diagnosed with severe illness, do you fight like hell or walk away (from life)? When faced with the ultimate choice, there may be offers of comfortable, safe, warm places to stay. However, in the end, will you choose the solitude and movement of life or pour a host of chemicals through your body’s veins in hopes of living three, six, or nine months more? There will be a myriad of kindnesses and struggles, each bringing people together and, on occasion, sometimes challenging their commitment to the vision set for themselves. 

To be more visionary, stringing the body to repeated rounds of chemotherapy offers non-joyful, conflicted rounds of clinical togetherness through an endless maze of medical tests. Moments such as these highlight that aging in America makes people invisible. Even in crowded waiting rooms, in the thunderous booms of clanging bedpans, like a salmon swimming upstream against the tide of infirmity, one wanders the solitary existence of medical marvel. Even in such moments, it’s hard for the ship to remain moored, but it’s never wholly undone.

As stated previously, I am inclined toward surrender. I am tired. My body is aged. Should redemption shove its way via some cutting-edge treatment, I will likely ask myself, “Well, then what?” Yeah. ‘Then what?’ What exactly do I do now that I’ve received that three, six, or nine months?

Perhaps I can only dream of release. Sometimes I dream of outrunning my past. But, on other days, I understand that I cannot outrun the past, as my fate is known. Decades of sin within my mind haven’t withered, just the body. And I know God won’t let me either. 

What is clear is the strains and hardships of working-class life often highlight how aging makes end-of-life difficulties a challenge. But unfortunately, the most significant hurdles of contemporary life, including low-wage work, poverty, addiction, aging, mental health, and luck, will not offer permanent solutions. And neither the choice to fight nor flee addresses the problems that enabled these problems. And likewise, neither option fails to manage them. 

Spiritually speaking, my preparation for death has been the guiding principle for actions that will hopefully promote positivity for the last several years. However, I understand that most are pretty frightened of dying. But, of course, I believe God, Jesus, Karen, and Kanako have forgiven me or will in due time. Thus, I think (for me) that living longer will not provide significantly more education. And unlike many Buddhists, I’ve not witnessed an actual case of reincarnation. Thus, should I be offered such a remedy, I hope to decline. However, I believe the life force granted to each of us as a child will return to its original home. I do believe in a continuity of personal existence.

My near-death experience highlighted how every little action taken in life echoes in heaven and how we are all interconnected to each other and God. Additionally, I cannot say if I continually communicate with God or Kanako, but I can feel the presence of both as I walk in this current life. I don’t see or hear them. I feel them. This presence has changed my thinking profoundly. And I am grateful that all of us can experience the same love I shared. That is the reason I do not require extensive medical treatment.