Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why I'm Not Celebrating Death

If you're a cancer survivor, you'll understand why I'm not celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden.

In no way shape or form do I feel pity or sorrow for him. I was in New York on 9/11/01, watching the destruction and reactions across the city up close and personal. I'll tell the whole story in another post. If I never get to post the story, so be it. But what I saw that day was almost 6 years to the day BEFORE I was diagnosed with head & neck cancer in 2007. Shaking hands with death changes your perspective.

Every now and then I catch myself taking life for granted. I have a wonderful and loving family. I'm fortunate to live where the seasons change and see all it's beauty. I have a job that is a job I've been looking for ever since I left Chiat/Day in 1986. I live in a great neighborhood. But sometimes, I get caught up in too many things that in the grand scheme of things, are really unimportant and a waste of time. Life itself is precious in every way, every second of the day. Death, while inevitable, is a marker for those who come after us. Our lives are then reduced to stories––some true, some embellished and some absolutely too ridiculous to believe––passed on from generation to generation and more recently, over the Internet.

What I am celebrating is hoping that we ask ourselves how/why one person can influence others to kill another human being, especially those people who believe "it is God's will" to take another person's life. Now I know I'm treading on dangerous territory for many reasons. That is not my intent. I can't get you to believe the way I do nor should I try––you are your own person. And so am I. But as I said earlier in this post, I'm a cancer survivor. If you've ever heard the words, "I wish I had better news but you have (fill in ANY cancer here). Best of luck to you", the first thought/question is 99.9% of the time, "am I going to die?"

When you can answer that question with living proof, then maybe you'll understand why I'm not celebrating death.