This is the sixth article I have tried to write in the last week about the passing of my good friend and fellow artist, Jim Keen. At 92 Jim made a choice not to try to extend his life by chemo treatments. We had talked about it a week before he passed.
He knew that I have been on the front lines of this battle with my wife and her stage 4 liver cancer. She has gone through three years of different chemo treatments and he knew what we all were going through. Jim said he was not in pain at that time and he did not wish to go through the chemo, especially at his age. Jim did die much faster than we thought, which I think was a blessing for him and his family.
Sometimes with an illness such as his, we get to say goodbye which I believe is good in a very definite way. With my wife and I it has been a long goodbye and I have needed that. Life is such a gift but it all seems so short. We all miss those we have loved and lost but most of us have the faith that we will soon join them again.
Each day I see cancer stealing away our young people. The suffering of this disease with its many painful facets is more and more of our daily reality. The shame of it all is that cancer may be directly related to our affluent lifestyle especially in what and the way we eat. I have come to believe this very strongly. What’s it going to take to reveal the truth about cancer in our lives? I don’t know. All those years of money on research hasn’t come up with a magic cure. It seems very strange that science is at such a loss in resolving this modern scourge.
I pray for help, especially for the young. Us older ones, well, we all have to die of something. If I had my “rathers,” I would just like my heart to stop while I was doing something I loved. To me that would be my ideal death.
Harry Croghan is an artist, photographer, writer and teacher. He can be reached at 740-852-4906 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.