One thing I’ve enjoyed over the years about my job as a Physical Therapist has been getting to hear stories about people’s lives. This story recently really touched me. The patient that I was working with was an 80 year old woman. She was telling me about her life and that she had had 6 children. She mentioned that she had only been pregnant 5 times, though, because the first pregnancy was twins, a boy and a girl. She went on to say that the twins were dead now. I did ask what had happened. (Being that they were twins, one almost automatically begins to expect that they died from the same thing.) My patient began with her daughter’s death. She said…”My daughter had the breast cancer. She had the mastectomy and the treatments, and she was doing very well for 2 or 3 years, but then it came back and got her.” This story, as you can imagine, hit very close to home and really had me a bit freaked out for some time. I did go on to inquire about her son. She said…”He was killed in a car accident”. I found myself putting myself in the shoes of each of these twins. I felt what i thought would be their fear. It was similar, yet different. I found myself trying to figure out which twin I would have rather been. Which death I would have chosen for myself? I’ve since, come to no answer. Honestly, neither is a pleasant thought. The best I could do was come up with some pros and cons to each. The major pro for the female twin was that she had had some warning of her potential fatality. She possibly had a few years of knowing that life is short, and she may have taken that opportunity to live her life to the fullest. She also, later, had some time to say her goodbyes to family and friends and to let them know how much she loved them. Potential cons being that she likely lived with some serious sadness and fear, as she knew that it would all eventually be coming to an end. The male twin, on the contrary, may not have had the knowledge of his own mortality. He did not have the chance to say his goodbyes, yet was spared the sadness of seeing his own life fade. He very possibly, however, had learned important lessons of living life through his twin’s experience.
I don’t really know why I spent so much time trying to decide which would be better or worse. I do not usually sit around thinking about how I'd like to go. I’m fighting to live, here. I guess that my final thought is that any of us could find ourselves in the exact same shoes as either twin. I even know of one person who recently had shoes of each. A sister-in-law of one of my good friends had recently won her battle against breast cancer, and then was killed in an automobile accident.
“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” Carl Jung
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man (woman) who lives fully is prepared to die any time.” Mark Twain.
Here’s to living life to each life’s fullest.