Just Keep Going

The end will come into sight.

We humans have an almost pathetic desperation for certainty, despite the entirely uncertain world we live in. For some, not to know is excruciating agony. It is why women often spend money on more expensive pregnancy tests that can tell them a day before cheaper brands on the market whether they are pregnant, or a week before their doctor could have told them for free.1

One of the most poignant examples I have ever come across of desperation for certainty was that of a man whom palliative care specialist Rachel Clarke wrote about in her moving book Dear Life. Roger had been terrified ever since he was a child by not knowing when he would die, and had suffered over the years from severe anxiety and depression.

Yet, when he was brought into the hospice, in serious pain, paralysed from the waist down by advanced prostate cancer and with the knowledge that he had just days or weeks to live, he was smiling broadly. Once his pain had been sorted out, he said, “I feel free. This is the first time in my life I have ever felt relaxed. None of my fears bothers me anymore. All the things like the kindness of nurses, a massage in the morning, time with my family — I can just enjoy them without worrying.”2

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