To the bitter end


Many of my friends will die before their time. I’ve come to accept this morbid fact over the years. It is likely I’ll outlive most of them and pass away alone.

The good news is I’ll have all their stuff to keep me company.

tombstones.jpgNow, having said all that, I’ll get hit by a bus tomorrow. But barring any unfortunate vehicular mishaps, my friends are facing some unhealthy odds: lung cancer from smoking … emphysema from smoking … diabetes … heart disease … weight-related issues … lack of exercise … excessive alcohol consumption … lack of sleep … stress … and the occasional rare medical condition which, when discovered, sets everyone on edge.

While I am prone to exaggeration, these issues are all too real. I’m blissfully free of most of these issues, for those concerned. I used to joke as a teenager that I’d keel over from a heart attack by age 21, because of my frenzied immature worries about this and that.

I got over it.

I take no pleasure in knowing I’m destined for a long healthy life, not at the cost of longtime friends who mean the world to me. Preaching a healthy lifestyle would engender only resentment. Living by example has not won over any followers.

So we carry on in our merry way, maybe placing faith in the rapid progress of medical science. After all, we live far beyond our life expectancies, thanks to cures and machines that didn’t exist 20 years ago.

In my head, the eulogies are written, the final goodbyes composed. I am untouched by death, another statement of fact that outright tempts fickle fate. It is a cruel world that separates us from those we love without so much as a hint or a warning.

More cruel will be living decade after decade, seeing that circle of friends shrink. They will have had good, prosperous and all-too-short lives.

I dance with familiar ghosts, buoyed by their spirits in a world both alive and dying.


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