Never Give up the Hope of Living
In this recorded conversation with a friend, Alison Willson described her reactions to the news that she was going to die of cancer. The conversation took place five months before her death.
Firstly, I told myself, "The thing has happened. However much you fuss , and scream , and yell , it's not going to change " I realised I'd got to discipline myself. Another thing was, I remembered the vicar of a church I used to go to saying that this kind of thing was often much harder for the relatives than for the patient. So here there was scope for me to do something positive.
Thirdly, just before I left the hospital, I came across two young women in their thirties, both with small children and both with cancer. I thought , well , what am I worrying about , because my children are grown up and independent. If I can get this right for myself and make some sort of peace with it , then the people who love me will also accept it and this needn't be too 6ad a time.
Of course, it wasn't as simple as that. When I came out of hospital I found I was getting it wrong with quite a lot of people , because they didn't look at it the same way as I did. And again, I think if you're going to die around the age of 50, far more people are involved than if you're dying when you're really old. You know, it's fairly threatening to people of your own age, they see you in the middle of a fairly busy life suddenly stopping-and they find it unacceptable. This busincss again of getting them to givc me pcrmission to die. . .
Several of me friends still feel very angry and bitter aboui it and just won't accept it. In consequence they tell me I shouldn't accept it. I get all these stories about these heroic people who have organ after organ rcmoved and say, I'm not going to die; I'm going to live; and they go on, year after year. It makes me fecl I'm be.ing terribly fecble. I feel rather guilty , as if what they're saying is , wcll . you're not trying hard enough.
I can't really see what else I could be doing. I'm very confused about all this. I don't quite understand what I ought to do. Well , I suppose one could be a Chichester and rush across the Atl.antic in a boat. But you know. really , I'm too tired for that. I think what I want to say to people is that if you're in this situation it isn't nearly as bad as people who try and put themselves in your position think it is.
For one thing . other people comc to it cold , whereas I've been doingAmy homework on it for the last two years. I've got used to the idea and have come to the point of acceptance gradually. The other thing is that they're feeling well and vigorous, with lots of things they're in the middle of doing. But I am actually getting very tired and don't fecl vcry well.
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