The Queen of Denial is not me. Oh, I’ll joke about it occasionally, but really, I’m incredible perceptive and accurate in my assessments of myself and the world around me.
The Queen of Denial is this woman: Dr. Desiree Pardi (the link takes you to the original story on the New York Times website). In a story full of horror and woe what comes through the most is the irony. A doctor specializing in palliative care puts herself — and her family — through a year of increasingly horrible procedures and pain because she refuses to admit that her cancer is not curable.
This is the horror of breast cancer, and it is not my story. It is, however, a story about the pain that denial causes and the ripple effect it has on those around the denier.
This is me being judgmental, I know. But instead of spending $1000s on ever-more-complicated treatments, she could have been doing everything she ever wanted to do, spending time in beautiful locations with her husband, and giving her loved ones, friends, and colleagues a chance to say goodbye. Instead of saying “I’m a survivor” she could have said “I did great work and helped many people, time to move to the next level.”
Fear of death is a massively powerful force. It takes a great deal of courage to face the unknown and slip into it gracefully. Dr. Pardi’s story is the story of many people. Her story is not my story, not least because I’m not dying yet.
It is also not my story because I am not afraid of dying . . I’m mostly interested in avoiding any pain around the process of dying itself. Oh, and I’d like to know when I’m going to die so I can get it all accomplished before I move on.