"Having a terminal illness essentially means that the thought of death is never too remote a notion in the recesses of one's mind. I have occasionally wondered if the choice was mine to make, would I find the act of death more noble were I able to choose the manner of my final departure? I am not referring to committing suicide, God forbid, as for myself this would never be a serious consideration. However, just as it matters how one lives life is important, surely the way that life ends holds equal significance to both self and others.
Is it better when it sends advance warning and leaves one able to get one's affairs in order and prepare one's loved ones for your eventual absence or is it more acceptable when it comes swift and without notice and is painlessly ended in a mere matter of seconds? If one could choose the nature of the final curtain, would it be better to descend in the form of an incurable illness, occupational accident or as the result of a pleasurable pursuit?
I don't profess to have the answer for any other person on this earth, but had I been given the choice in the nature of my departure from this life, I would willingly have chosen the road that I now find myself walking.
What I do know with certainty is that today, when I kiss my wife, children, friends and loved ones goodbye as they leave the house in the knowledge that it 'could' be the last time I ever kiss them, that kiss means so much more than it ever meant before. I know that when I taste a favourite food or drink today that my palate is satisfied to the utmost; indeed I know with every breath of my being that what I think, say and do today with any other human or creature is done far better and with more meaning than it was ever done before.
As a Christian who believes in the afterlife, I will not pretend that I have never been the luckiest of punters, because in believing in God, I have always backed a winner! Also, I know that any strength of character which I possess today wasn't found waiting by the wayside like an Alladdin's lamp to hold and treasure. It was fashioned from my parents' values and the family love they provided me with. When they died, they left me the greatest inheritance of all in the form of six brothers and sisters, along with the knowledge that they always loved me and believed that I would do well in my life. I also know that any knowledge I have acquired during my life didn't come from the reading of books, but instead in the observing of people's behaviour as they went about their lives.
So dwell not upon illness or death today, but learn to live this day as though it was your last if you want to live it well. Focus upon the goodness in your life today and upon the greatness of all deeds done to you and by you." William Forde: January 6th, 2015.