THAT question and why I will never ask it

THAT question is: “Will I die?

I will never ask it.  It’s not because I’m afraid of finding out the answer (I research a lot, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect).  It’s just that in my mind this is a pointless question. Of course I will die just like everybody else dies. The circle of life dictates that we are born to die.  It is completely natural to fast-forward to thoughts of death when receiving a cancer diagnosis but that focus on death stops us focusing on living and there’s a lot of living to be done irrespective of whether it’s days, months or fingers, toes and eyes crossed, years.

There is a second question I will never ask. It is: “When will I die?”

This one is trickier and temptation urges us to ask it when faced with a life-threatening illness. We are hard-wired to expect a certain amount of life, a preordained period on this planet, some 70 – 80 years-ish.  But this question is almost as pointless as “Will I die?”  Why do I say this – because even when faced with a terminal diagnosis, 6 weeks can become 6 years or vice versa.  Science is making breakthroughs every day but at present there is no real rhyme or reason to the way that cancer works, why it takes hold of some people but relinquishes its grip on others.

So the question I prefer to ask of myself (not my medics) is “How will I live?”  The answer stuns me with its simplicity.  I will live with grace and gratitude, I will enjoy each day whatever it throws at me and I will love all the people who fill up my life with their friendship, kindness and support.

I say forget about “will I die” or “when will I die” because death is always inevitable.  Focus instead on “how will I live” and suddenly life attains a new level fulfilment that might not otherwise have blossomed.

How will I live?

10 thoughts on “THAT question and why I will never ask it

  1. And life, like work, expands to fill the time available. Very nicely expressed post.

    I have some personal experience here, having dared to ask my doctor for a life expectancy estimate after a cancer diagnosis. ‘Could be six months, could be twenty-five years,’ was the answer. A bit shocking at the time, but that was more than 25 years ago. If I asked the question tomorrow, the answer would be the same.


  2. That was beautifully written.
    A self-evolved thought that helps sustain me is ‘I’m alive now. I’ll be dead some time in the future. That truth is no different now to what it was at the moment of my birth. The fact that I’m alive NOW is the only thing that matters.’


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