My Phone Call With Mortality - by F. Kaskais

My Phone Call With Mortality
Photo by Christian Lue |

Reflections on cancer diagnosis, fear, and gratitude

By Douglas Penick

It begins with a phone call from the doctor, and it is as I’ve often and unwillingly imagined: “I’ve got bad news.” 

There is a silent, airless implosion. I force myself to breathe, pull myself together, and ask whatever I can manage. The call ends, and I feel like the world is pulling away. I am being left behind. I put down the phone and make some notes about the disease, the treatments, the calls I’ll need to make, then I burst into tears.

Outside the window there’s a bright sunset and dark, pine-covered mountains. There’s a cool evening breeze. How to tell my wife, my son, my family, my friends? I imagine how they are leading their lives assuming everything is going on as before. It’s inconceivable that so much love, so much intensity…

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