Monday, 6 February 2017

Survivor Guilt

Ever watch a movie or read a book about an immortal or long-lifed creature?  One without a delusional god-complex?  They at some point tell the heartache of being blessed with living and watching those not like them dying around them.  The curse of immortality.  It's not just for the eternal, for those of us that still have an end-date looming over our mortality, it's survivor's guilt.

Survivor's guilt comes at you strongest after someone you cared about, related to, loved, and admired passes away, especially if it is sudden.  Salt in the wound is if you're a ticking time bomb, yourself.  An unfortunate catch to getting to know other people living with cancer is that you are all on borrowed time.  You don't know how much any of you have, of course doctors can speculate, percentages are given, but no one truly knows the amount of seconds you will get to enjoy in this life.

Today's post is brought to you by seeing that another friend has passed.  She was a kind, wonderous woman, a devoted mother, and as many would say, take too soon, that she was too young.  I've seen many, many friends pass over the last years, this last year especially.  We're all terminal.  But, I'm still here.  My scans have been stable for some time now.  The chemotherapy was really effective against my tumours.  Their cancer got to the point where the treatments, no matter which they tried, were now useless.  Some tried alternative options towards the end, some decided to not try delaying it any longer, some opted for even ending things before their body shut itself down.  No matter what they chose, it was their choice.  A choice no one should ever have to make.  I don't know what I'll do when I get to that point.  I hate thinking about it.  I also hate knowing that my friends' children won't have their parent by their side, any longer.  They'll miss the hugs, the kisses, the fights, the getaways, the trips, the advice...  Some will still have some memories.  Some will have things to help them along, cards, letters, videos, books, pictures, but they won't have the person.

So why do I get to be here and watch my friends go?  Some say that I'm so lucky.  How is it luck?  You get to feel the heart break every time you are notified that someone passed.  You feel death's hand a little tighter around your neck.  You watch your children and know that could be them soon, one parent less.

You to take comfort in that you are still here, but the weight on your chest is real.  The darkness in your mind is there.  You feel guilty because you are on this side of the grass and all you can do is try to honour them by living.  Try to live so that you can give reason for being the "lucky one".