What do you see out of your window today?

On Facing Death

A story by Jeannie Peck



A very short story to ponder: Two little old ladies, both in their 80s. Both have been suddenly stricken with a terminal illness. Each has been given two months to live. One woman is blessed with a loving family: a thoughtful and caring husband; three children; five grandchildren; and a faithful companion - her dog. She will be facing death surrounded by those who love her. The second woman is childless, and has been predeceased by her husband, all of her family members, both of her closest long-time friends, and even her pets. She will be facing death alone. If you were to be asked which of these women you feel sorrier for, chances are your sympathy would be for the solitary woman. It’s just possible that you might be so wrong. The familied woman is too heavily invested in life to want to let go of it. She doesn’t want to miss the graduations, weddings, and babies yet to come. She’s worried that she won’t be around to help should trouble befall any of her family. She's distraught, and trying to bargain with God for even just one more year. On the other hand, the woman alone feels that she’s been lucky to have had a good long run. Those she has loved are gone. There’s nothing really inviting her into the future. Even chocolate cake doesn’t seem to taste as good as it once did — not even when it’s topped with a great big mound of vanilla fudge ripple ice cream. So when the Doctor tells her she’s got only two more months, she smiles, shrugs her shoulders and quips, Well, let’s look on the bright side, Doc, just think of all the money i’ll be saving on pain medication. And that’s the end of the story. So — what do you think … who’s the lucky one? Jeannie Peck Southbury, CT © 2014

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  Southbury, CT
Jun 18 2024


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