The Circle of Life

From the day we arrive on the planet
And, blinking, step into the sun

There’s more to see than can ever be seen

More to do than can ever be done

There’s far too much to take in here

More to find than can ever be found

But the sun rolling high

Through the sapphire sky

Keeps great and small on the endless round

It’s the circle of life

And it moves us all

Through despair and hope

Through faith and love

Till we find our place

On the path unwinding

In the circle

The circle of life

~ Elton John, Tim Rice

Many people  do not feel comfortable talking about death, but guess what, we’re all going to die. Yep, it’s true. We’re born, we live, and then we die.  It’s the circle of life.

Weeks ago I met with my Rabbi to start planning my funeral. Many friends thought this would be upsetting for me to do, but I found it to be rather comforting. I like to be prepared and I like to do things my way. 

I learned that preparing to die involves lots of planning. Part of the planning involves choosing a funeral parlor, a cemetery, a casket, a gravestone and the type of service you would like. Healthcare proxies and Wills need to be updated as well. Mark and I will do this together. I’m happy that I can help now so this burden doesn’t all fall on Mark.  I think planning for your death is something everyone should take advantage of while they can.

I’ve been working on my legacy for my family. Journals for my children are almost complete and I’ve been teaching Mark how to prepare some of his favorite food dishes. I really need to teach that man how to use our fancy oven. To convection, or not? 

When I met with my oncologist, Dr. M, two weeks ago, I told her I met with my rabbi and we started to plan my funeral. She told me I was doing well right now, but it was a good idea to plan. This led me to ask some questions. 

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m on a new treatment. Dr. M is aware that I like to know what the future holds for me, and she’s comfortable answering my questions. I asked her what happens if this new treatment does not work. She explained there may be clinical trials that I could participate in or other chemotherapies to try, but there will come a time when treatments may become dangerous if I become too ill. 

During this past spring/summer I got a taste of being very ill. It was just awful in so many ways. I remember saying I was not ready to die, not the way you’re thinking, but because I was not prepared. I used to be superstitious, believing that if I was prepared it would speed up my death. I don’t feel that way anymore. 

There are so many things I would like to see and do, and I hope to have the time to do them. When the time comes to leave this planet, I’ll take comfort knowing I was ready, and that I prepared my family to move on. 

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19 thoughts on “The Circle of Life

  1. Susan, 17 years ago, my mom passed from cancer. Several years before she was diagnosed, she made all of her funeral arrangements. I never wanted to talk about it, but by the time I wanted to thank her for the best gift she could ever have given me, she was gone, Your family is blessed, as I was by my mom’s selfless gift. Stay strong, sister!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope one day to be as strong as you..in life and in death. You are such an inspiration to us all and I wish you many, many days..months..years..to keep showing us all that side of you. Many hugs coming from NC…<3

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Susan!
    I Cant Imagine Planning My Funeral Arrangements(Though I Choose To Be Cremated) I Would Be Scared! You Have Such Grace And Love In Your Heart That You Are At Peace With Your Passing On. It Is Important That Things Are In Order. It Just Hurts Me So Much Knowing That I Will Lose a Dear Friend And Classmate To Such a Horrible Disease. All I Can Say Is To Live Your Time In Peace & Harmony. You Are The Strongest Woman I Know To This Day. God Bless You. Luv Ya’! Kevin xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just discovered your page. So sorry to hear of all the suffering you have been through. My great grandmother passed away prior to 1938 from what (based on the stories I have heard) was likely mestatic breast cancer. My grandmother never got over the loss. Her mother was only 56 years old when she passed away…my mother never knew her. Even worse was there was nothing that could be done for her….they did not have the treatments they do now! I personally lost my best friend in 2000 from mestatic cancer that started in her uterus, spread to her lungs and her brain. She was only 44, with kids still at home. It is a horrible, unforgiving disease. She fought valiantly and I will never forget that. I have lost former classmates to cancer. It’s time for cancer to go bye byes! My thoughts and prayers go out to you in this very difficult journey…and to your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Kathy. I am sincerely sorry to hear of all those close to you who have passed from this horrible disease. It absolutely needs to go bye, bye. My hope right now is to find more less toxic treatments to help those with advance breast cancer live longer. Thank you for getting in touch, and reading my blog.

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