I haven’t written for a while because my best friend was dying of cancer and nothing else seemed important. It’s been three weeks now since she passed away, and the world feels like an awfully dreary place without her in it. She is the second close friend/family member who has died this year, and I was still reeling from the first death (a tragic accident) when I learned that my best friend’s cancer was terminal.
At times like these I wish I was religious and/or believed in some type of afterlife. It would be easier to cope if I thought I’d see my loved ones again some day. Unfortunately I don’t. I think when we die, that’s it. Game over. Of course I could be wrong. I hope I’m wrong.
The thing is, if I thought there’s an afterlife, I might be tempted to join my loved ones right now. That’s what I don’t get about religious people who claim to be certain that they’re going to Heaven and all that: Even when they’re old and sick and in a lot of pain, most of them cling to life until the last moment, opting for every conceivable medical procedure to prolong their existence in this world. Why? If you really believe that Heaven is waiting, why hang around after so many of your loved ones have already died, your body has broken down, and you’re in excruciating pain? I guess they don’t have as much faith in this stuff as they would have us believe.
It’s the same with abortion. According to the belief system of most anti-choicers, wouldn’t that “innocent unborn child” be on the express elevator to Heaven once a pregnancy has been aborted? Spared all the pain and torment and injustice of this world. And no chance to fuck up and end up in Hell. Isn’t that a good thing?
Even without the prospect of Heaven, I often find myself wishing I had never been born. Either that or killed right before the start of puberty/enforced femininity when my life went to hell in a major way. So why not just kill myself? The problem with suicide is that once you’re alive and there are at least a few people who care about you, you can’t off yourself without seriously devastating the people who love you. I did try to kill myself when I was 17, but that wasn’t a premeditated act. I was in so much pain I took every pill/drug in the house and ended up unconscious for 48+ hours. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to die; I just wanted to stop hurting. Shortly after that I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
So yeah, I’ve been battling depression since I realized that my best friend in the world was going to die. It’s not right that the life of someone so kind, loving, intelligent, and all-around amazing was cut short like this, but then, so few things are right in this world, it’s not really surprising. I also wonder if she might still be here if her cancer had been detected earlier, if she’d been able to get regular checkups.
But that’s the thing about being poor, without health insurance, and not eligible for Medicaid: You can’t even afford to see a doctor when you have symptoms, and preventative visits are totally out of the question. Unexplained pain or bleeding–you just hope that shit ain’t serious and will go away by itself. That’s certainly been my approach.