Friday, August 29, 2014

Cancer Patient Wonders Why Friends Won't Help With "Bucket List"

Dear Tazi:

I have terminal lymphoma, which is cancer of the lymph system. My doctors have given me six months to live, which is something I have accepted. In fact, I consider myself lucky that the cancer I have is not one that will leave me in pain and debilitation. I have refused chemotherapy, which would extend my life by only a few months but rob me of my quality of life. I am at peace with my decision, and ready to do as the Tim McGraw song suggests and live like I was dying. I am receiving SSDI benefits, so I no longer work and have time to spend with my college-aged children. Death must come to us all; and I feel blessed to have such an easy sentence. My only problem is, none of my friends or family seem to have the time for me to do the things I want to do with them.

Every time I suggest we do something that I have always wanted to do - like go rafting, like in the movie Deliverance or try skydiving, they are always too busy. I always offer to pay their way, so it is not a matter of money; I cannot understand why they would turn down the opportunity for adventure with a friend. Short of reminding them that my time is short, how can I change their minds? I don't want to spend the last of my days sitting around waiting for death.

Still Living

Dear Still Living:

You may be "still living" but it appears that you no longer have a life. Unlike you, your friends still have to go to work every day, care for their children, and maintain their homes; making their free time a precious commodity. While it is admirable that you are willing to cover the financial cost of the rather pricey activities you wish to try, more than money is involved. A Deliverance style canoe-trip involves a great deal of planning and covers an entire weekend, which is time many wish to spend with their children; plus it can be physically grueling. Even if others are up to the challenge - and they may not be - they may be concerned that that you are not. Others have a fear of heights or falling, and think it crazy to voluntarily jump out of a perfectly good plane.

Rather than trying to plan grand events with your friends, try for smaller events: a night out on the town or a field day in the park. For larger events, a travel agency can hook you up with a touring group that is participating in the things you want to try - like skydiving or canoeing down the Coosawattee. If you seek to make memories with those you love in order to preserve their memories of you, volunteering (alone or as a group) for Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful way to help others and leave a lasting legacy in your community, as is holding a clothing drive for a local charitable organization. Like the Tim McGraw song suggests in addition to grand activities, you can love deeper, speak sweeter, and give forgiveness that you've been denying.

I wish you a peaceful journey.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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