I don’t want to die.
I’ve been planning my story for novels, and one of my characters has a brother with cystic fibrosis. Last night I was doing some research on CF, and found the blog of a woman with it. She blogged for four years, and I read it all. I read about her illness. I read about her life. I read about her documentary. I read about her deterioration. I read about her transplant. About her excitement at facing a whole new life ahead of her. About her chronic rejection. About her fears. About her death. She was only 25.
A while ago I saw a film about a man with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. He seemed so healthy the entire film, but then all of a sudden, he got pneumonia and died. He was 20. You see, the average life expectancy for people with DMD is 25. A guy from my school has DMD. We’re 20 as well.
I don’t want to die. I don’t know what comes after. I don’t want there to be a heaven. At least not in the traditional sense. I would like to create my own heaven. To have my own little corner, that no-one else shared unless it was their heaven too. But I do not want to live on clouds with all my dead loved ones. I would rather be reborn. Living different lives. Having second chances. I am not religious. I do not believe in any gods. I shout at the sky when bad things happen. I ask if they are real, and yell at them for playing with their magnifying glasses. But I don’t think I believe. I would like to. I want that something I can hold on to. I wish I had that kind of faith. But I don’t. All I have is this tiny hope that when I die, it’s not just it.
I was given a healthy body. Mine didn’t come with an early expiration date like so many other people’s. Not like people with CF or DMD. But with the way I treat it, I’m going to give it one. And it’s not like I’m even running around living to death. I’m not about to die because my parachute didn’t open, or because I got frostbite climbing Mt. Everest. I’m just sitting at my laptop with a bunch of junk food, slothing myself to death. My family has diabetes. My family has cancer. My family has mental problems. I don’t want to die. But I can’t just do nothing and expect to live. Death comes easy. Life takes work.
I want to grow up. I want to finish my degrees, get a job, get married, buy a house, have a bunch of kids, raise them, and then see them raise their own kids. And somewhere in the midst of all that, I want to travel the world. I don’t want to die in my twenties from a heart attack or diabetes. Which is why starting now, I have to try harder. I will have a healthy breakfast whenever I have time. I will not have an extra milo or an extra cookie just because no-one’s going to stop me. I will say no when I get offered an unnecessary helping of junk food. I will not eat chocolate at clubs just because it’s free. I will walk wherever I can. I will not watch TV or go on the laptop all day. I will make myself healthy lunches. I will hurry up and get a medicare card and register for organ donation.
I will live.