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Thursday, November 29, 2012

End of the World!

A rather hot day in Brisbane and I've been holed up in my office for the past two weeks working my little Sri Lankan bum off on my major once-a-year-project.

In a nutshell, I specialise in assisting people who build nursing homes to squeeze some bucks from the Federal Government so they can build new facilities.

The last week has been spent studiously at my desk, broken only by a sojourn to the hospital.

Because after her first chemo shop, my sister Fiona had a bit of an allergic reaction - we think to the antie-emetics - and ended up in hospital on Day 2.

Nicky and I motored over to see her and were our usual sympathetic selves with the words:  "You look like shit" being the first words uttered as poor Fiona sat their forlornly picking at her plate of unappetising hospital food.

The good news is that, as as result of her allergic reaction, it MAY be that she will only need four -not six - shots of chemotherapy and I can only hope this is the case.

It's a few days later today and true to form, Fiona the self-confessed worry-wart has been imagining the worst of what, in my opinion are small and insignificant side effects.  Today she wanted to speak to me about a pain in her hand.

I have urged her to shrug things off more rather than assuming every ache, pain and reaction means we should be polishing up her wooden box.

Today she also told me how the school at which she has worked had run a fundraising drive to raise funds to support a weekly cleaner through her treatment.  We agreed that one thing cancer teaches you is how unbelievably kind and generous some people can be.

And, as we seem to do a little bit these days,  Fiona and I contemplated the inevitability of our respective untimely demises.  We all must eventually leave this world, eh!

It only after I hung up, that I realised the context of our discussion.

For you see, if the Mayans were right, in exactly 22 days it seems the World Will End.

It's not something I've paid much attention to - Doomsday Sayers.  I avoid them like the plague - as keenly as I avoid cliches.

Nonetheless, in taking stock of my adventures thus far, my curiosity was piqued.  Will the world end four days before Christmas, annoyingly meaning that the tickets I bought to a show in January will go unused?    Frustratingly meaning there'll be no Boxing Day sales to tempt my wallet?  Sadly meaning that I will miss the Senior Referees Seminar in February?

Is this how it will end?  Fiona only two shots through her chemo program and hairless;  I, one breasted and cursed with a head amass with follicles more suited to a pubic region?

Will it end with Harry half way through his degree, all those years of private education, academic achievements and scholarships gone to waste? And Ben, still to get the hair cut he needs?  And Al still to get that hole in one?  And me, still to see George Clooney in the flesh (in that G-string)?

You think it's a callous thing, life suddenly ending, but there is a bright side.  If nothing else, the impending End of the World should give us all cause to take stock and see where we are, and how far we've come.  Cancer has certainly done that for me.

If nothing else, knowing or seeing that end must teach us to applaud ourselves for what we have achieved, and what we have overcome, simply to still be here!

Because, as I have come to appreciate life is fucking hard and, really, it takes some guts and stamina to make it to whatever and whenever turns out to be THE END.

In my line of work of course, I meet many elderly people, many of who are in bad shape.  These are the good folk who have reached what might be called that 'ripe old age' when your life is past that climax, and is now about denouements, finales and codas.  When it's no longer about colons or commas or even ...ellipses... but full stops.

Frankly, I feel I should applaud them, cheer them on.  For neither you nor I can imagine what traumas or perils and challenges these elderly have survived, and how strong, persistent and tenacious they have been simply to get to that stage in life where they might actually be described as OLD.

Every old person is a survivor.  Every elderly person has hauled that now wrinkled backside through lordy knows what swamps and jungles - and for that we must surely respect them (however mean, irascible or unlikeable they may be).

Put simply, it takes sheer balls to have a long life.

And so, I guess you have to admit, the End of the World - in 22 days - is looking like a merciful release.  Either that, or the coward's way out.

Doomsday may well be a realistic scenario - check out this site (copy and paste the URL into your finder window).

I for one, am unconcerned either way.  I enjoy life and I enjoy living.  There is something rather quaint and old fashioned about, well, breathing!

However, as I have said, there are no guarantees for any of us.  Who really knows what the future has in store for you or me?

All we can do is live now and live well.

Seize the day however you can.  Tomorrow may, still, not come.

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