Mary’s family responded to her diagnosis of cancer “like they had received a death sentence.”
Actually, we’ve all already received our private death sentences. It’s called birth. What’s the cause of death? Birth. But most of us have failed to notice this cause-and-effect, so when we are startled into this recognition, it can be shocking. Wait a minute! I’m not ready for this!
We think of birth as a joyous event. Profound joy overcomes the new parents and may extend to the grandparents. It’s an altered state for which there are no words. Words seem extraneous to the direct experience of the birth of a baby.
Yet everyone who is born will die. Later, or sooner. Death is guaranteed. The time of death is uncertain, however, so we can proceed as if death doesn’t exist. Or it’s so far over the horizon that we can ignore it.
A cancer diagnosis can sound like a death sentence. But it can also be a wake-up call–waking us up to our one wild and precious life.