And, yet again …

Another person we know has passed away.  My husband’s cousin died on my birthday, after a brief experience with cancer.  She was 48.

I have trouble with some of the words people use to describe those who suffer from a serious illness.  They fight the illness, they battle cancer, they are courageous.  It all leaves me feeling frankly offended.

My cousin who died of cancer a few years ago was not a quitter, and she was not particularly courageous.  She did not want to die, so she had the surgeries, did her chemo and followed the special diets.  She was not battling cancer, she was participating in treating her diseased body.  When she died, it was not because she was a failure and it was not because she had given up or wanted to walk toward the light to find relief.  She died because her body was too diseased to maintain life.

I truly understand that people are not meaning to be judgmental when they use that type of language.  They are using that language as a euphemism, and it is usually comes from a place of good intention.  They mean to provide comfort, and even hope.  But in the end for me, all I hear is the judgment:  she died, so she didn’t try hard enough.

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