Tag Archives: life

Death comes to us all: but don’t go without talking

I have pasted an exchange of messages below, between myself and a good guy whom I have never met – one of many ‘contacts’ we have these days in the ‘virtual’ digital world. He has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I feel for him and his loved ones.

I have no right to a viewpoint, but I have shared this exchange just in case it helps someone else. I may be wrong, or even harsh – but its just my view.

My point is simple (and perhaps harsh): one has to accept what is inevitable at some point in time – death comes to us all. There is no ‘fairness’, reason or rationale. Why me? Why not me? It is easy for me to say – I have not been diagnosed with a terminal illness. But, I have lost a quarter of my family to cancer over the years.

In my humble opinion (and I am not a believer, so I don’t pray) one has to accept what is coming. You cannot do anything without first accepting your fate. And thereafter, one can make the best of whatever time is left.

Mainly, to talk – to say those things you want to say, but that many people do not. Some do not get the chance – death is immediate, and a shock to those left behind. But with modern drugs, many illnesses can be kept at bay for long periods before the inevitable end.

Science (not your God) has provided that extra time. If it were me, dying, as we all do eventually, I would want to spend time with the people that I care most about. And say the things that many people do not say – how much you love them, the great things you love about them, and your wishes for their future.

Above all, to be happy, to celebrate at my funeral (not to be sad), drink, eat, break open the cigars, and the best single malt. Light a fire, with coal and logs (I love fireplaces), look at the flicker of the flames, enjoy it, knowing it will burn out eventually as we all do – enjoy it while you can.

Love, Paul xx


(I have changed the identity to ‘Dear Friend’)

Dear Friend,
I’m sorry, I read my message again, and it is a bit harsh. I sincerely hope that your doctors are wrong.
I have a different perspective because I have lost a quarter of my direct family (mine and my wife’s) to cancer.
There is no reason or rationale – it is just bad luck.
You are a braver man than me; I know I would be wallowing in self-pity. But I would stop doing anything I didn’t need to do, and spend all my time with my family and friends.
But crucially, as the family members I lost did not do this, I would talk to them (if I thought they could deal with it) and say “Look, I don’t have much time left, I love you – lets talk properly, while we can”.
I’m close to tears writing this – cancer is a bastard.
All my best wishes

Friend wrote:
Thank you Paul
for a fresh perspective and different view.
Keep you posted.

On 08/11/14, Paul Carder wrote:
Dear Friend,
I admire your spirit. One cannot get to middle age without having some experience of cancer.
I am not religious, but I hope it works for you.
It seems pointless to simply say ‘good luck’, but what else can one say? Life is predominantly luck, isn’t it?

I can only speak from personal experience, where family members have continued fighting it until the end. They mostly never got to say the things they may have wanted to say.
I know what I would do: face up to the realistic probability, and spend what time I had left with my family, talking honestly.

my kindest regards,

Friend wrote:
Dear colleagues

Recently I was diagnosed with [cancer] ….Doctors say my condition is terminal, however at this time I am not accepting this as inevitable.

I am undergoing six sessions of chemo, as this is the best conventional treatment I can be offered at this time, but I am also pursuing alternative and natural treatments, power of positive thinking, the support of my family, friends and colleagues and of course the help of God through your prayers, to fulfil the plan that is written for me.

Therefore I have taken a sabbatical from work as long as may be required, and am now self declared CEO in order to be in a position to concentrate on this “New Job” 24/7.

Currently after four chemo treatments lasting three days each, I am feeling better physically, but the cancer has not responded as well as we had hoped for now……

There is lots of fight in the dog yet, and your thoughts and prayers will be appreciated.

I will keep you posted on progress periodically.