“It is a curious thing the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited and that eventually all of us end up under some sheet never to wake up. And yet, it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls through the air and there is a sickly dark moment of surprise as you try to readjust the way you thought of things.” – Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket brilliantly puts into words how I felt the moment my brother took his last breath. He was diagnosed a little over a year before he died. Acute myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer that quickly and aggressively attacks the bone marrow.
‘Death’, as defined by Merriam Webster, is the ending of a particular person’s life. By that definition, my brother died the day he was diagnosed. His life was over. He could no longer plan for anything in his life. Simple tasks began to grow harder and his cognitive ability lowered.
I think the cancer treatment played an equal part in my brother’s demise. The medicine and procedures my brother received killed his mentality way before the cancer physically ended his life.
For this reason, my brother chose death. He could no longer endure the endless amount of chemotherapy being pumped into his body. The poking and prodding of needles day after day. The endless amounts of biopsies, ranging from orbital to spinal! I had never seen someone endure so much, only to have no promise of getting better.
He couldn’t bear to live his life that way anymore and so he told my family he wanted to stop treatment. My parents were devastated. I know that the only reason my brother pulled through for as long as he did was for us. He was always more concerned about how my parents, my siblings, and I were feeling.
I think I am the only one who fully supported his decision to end his life. I began to think it was selfish of me to make him put up this fight that we all, unfortunately, knew he was not going to win. I feel like we all feared his death way more than he did. He wanted nothing more than to be at peace. After all, as Albus Dumbledore says, “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” My brother was ready to begin his.
It should not be looked at as an end but a new beginning. Once you stop fearing death, there is a lot less to fear in life. I can’t be sure what happens after death but I do believe it has to be a peaceful place. I find comfort in it, seeing my brother ready for that part of his journey made me not fear mine. Death is not scary. Death is warm. Death is a promise that this life isn’t forever, and I love that.
If death ceased to exist nobody would care for people the way they do. Nobody would cherish memories the way they do. Nobody would love the way they do. All aspects of our humanity could not be the same. People live so passionately because life is not promised. Imagine a world without death and it’s an apathetic one. Death is essential for us to live life intensely, for us to truly live it to the fullest.