Wednesday, June 06, 2007

To Know or Not

A beautiful 25-year-old girl I know in New Jersey was diagnosed with uterine cancer last year. She is now in remission, but she was told by her doctor that she will not be able to give birth. On the phone, she strained to say, "I almost wish I didn't know this. I’d rather have hope. I’d rather think that I could get pregnant still."

That's the age old question: If someone could tell you the date, time, and place of your death, would you want to know?

I don't really want to get into why I'm thinking about this, but I do want to highlight the debate. Would you rather know that something bad was coming? Even if you couldn't tell anyone you knew? The plus to having knowledge in advance is that you have time to gradually form a reaction. The minus, of course, is that you end up in a Chinese torture of harboring anxiety of the impending doom.

The last 3 days, I’ve found myself chanting Episcopalian private school teachings I’d thought I’d forgotten: “G-d will never give you more than you can handle in one day.”

I am currently in the process of forming 12 reactions to a troubling event that is soon to take place. I don’t know when it will come. I don’t know how it will come. But, let’s just say, I’m 100% sure it’s coming. And, I hate that I know ahead of time. However, I think it’s probably for the best that I do. I have to believe that fate had this knowledge in my cards.

Then again, I probably offset the balance by making a wish for love on every yellow light and with every penny I toss in a fountain (I know and, yes, feel free to gag) . You can’t have everything, and, truth be told, I’m happier with having what I recently got than keeping stability. This is all in code. I’ll try to work up the courage to explain more another time.


  • At June 06, 2007, Blogger I-66 said…

    I think I'd rather know that ahead of time than not. It gives you time to prepare so that when it does happen you're in better shape than you would be otherwise.

    There is a (small) bright side.

  • At June 06, 2007, Blogger LJ said…

    I agree. Would rather know. Gives you time to process... prepare... to react gracefully.

    Of course, knowing doesn't nullify the pain. But I definitely thinks it makes it as bearable as possible.

  • At June 06, 2007, Blogger HomeImprovementNinja said…

    I don't think I'd want to know. When I thought I had something potentially fatal wrong with me (weird result on a sonogram of my heart) I was all kinds of freaking out until I had further tests done. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat. Even sex leaves your thoughts when all you can think about is dying.

    My friend, who has a genetic illness that his brother died from is surprisingly accepting about it. He said that he'll live his life as best he can, take care of himself and when it's his time to go, he'll know what it will be from. It won't be from cancer or anything else. If he takes really good care of himself, he could live another 20 or 30 years.

    Anyway, I guess if you know and there's nothing you can do about it, maybe you can be resolve to be accepting, but I don't know if I'm wired that way.

  • At June 07, 2007, Blogger Cara said…

    I'd rather know- I watched a friend of mine lose her father very suddenly and I can't help but think of how much easier it could have been if she only knew he was dying. Aside from that- I hope everything is okay with you, that post was so cryptic and now I am concerned! :)


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