Once upon a time, I met a beautiful olive-skinned lady with a lovely crooked dimpled smile, a flowing mane of black hair framing her happy heart-shaped face. Her eyes twinkled as she talked and on her face, one could clearly notice the blush and rush of being a new bride. She was both open and mysterious, excited and calm, frank but still guarded. She was 21, and looking at her, talking to her, I would never have known she was going to be dead in less than 6 months.
She got married in January and was diagnosed in February. Sun was beginning to set while we talked and I asked her “how does it feel”, it was a truly stupid question but the answer she gave me has stayed with me. She smiled, closed her eyes and went:
“The difference between you and me is that I know when I am dying, you don’t know that. I am lucky. Having cancer is not, no, but I will do the important things because I know. I don’t know if other people who have cancer find this knowledge comforting, but I do, I forget I have cancer, I only think about how I am lucky to know when I am leaving this world. We all have to die anyway, people like me just have a clear idea of when”.