when the doctor delivers that death sentence
we cannot cure the cancer
your liver/kidney is far too damaged
your heart valves are clogged
there is no cure only care …

there is a myriad of responses
many jump on the treatment treadmill
bargaining to delay the inevitable
others retire to the bed
hoping rest may appease the grim reaper

a few will be quiet and continue
with life without attracting attention
some will launch into their bucket list
keen for a big adventure
not everyone gets such choices …

the treatment treadmill has
many serious side-effects
weakening our immune system
we have absolutely no idea
how we’d react until the bell tolls

always wise to regularly tick off
that bucket list to make the most of life
tie up any unfinished business
be sure to make amends, no strife
tell close ones that you love them

as they will respond in unimagined ways
some close down and move away
others keen to support are there to stay
unsolicited advice swamps you
relatives tend to divide in two

a few are vultures circling for financial gain
others more dove like keeping the peace
helping one to end their days in their own way
sort out those who support
avoid those who would distort

prepare by making your own choices
think about how you’d like it to be
make your wishes very clear
to avoid confusion for those held dear
these choices empower to do it your way!


  1. I’m feeling these choices with my 93 year old mother’s physical decline now. Sometimes bucket lists can be as simple as taking ten breaths of fresh air.


  2. and then there’s the bargaining for time, to last longer, to stretch just a little more. I so appreciate your sensitivity to the treadmill of care, sometimes the very medicines taken cause a whole new set of problems.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a powerful message in your words Kate. Living each day as if it’s our last is sometimes the best way, making the most of every moment and never taking for granted those around us. Life is way too short. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I made a new bucket list some years ago, which simply included care for self, other and the environment through a contemplative rule of life, and with regular bush interaction (forest bathing), self-discovery and learning. Much happier since that kicked off.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree in everything you said here kate and i would like to highlight this “a few are vultures circling for financial gain”….really? What kind of human being are they for trying to do that?…it just doesnt make sense at all…but i guess there are people who are really only up for money..


    • oh Mich, pray you never work in a hospice … there are more than a few! They can be loving and kind but as the end draws closer they have already spent their inheritance and can’t wait for the rel to move on …


    • exactly Robbie and those who have that rare opportunity to say goodbye and complete unfinished business are more fortunate than those who lose loved ones unexpectedly


  6. Reminds me of the saying; When there’s a Will – there’s relatives.
    Which unfortunately can be contested by those who remain.
    Planing to live is always a good thing. And not to burden family with expenses.
    When my MIL passed she had all her arrangements made. While she had her share of health issues she made it to her 90’s – her way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We each have to live the best we can…

      I remember reading a long time ago about a mom who knew she was passing and wrote a special letter to each of her three children, and they all began with; “You were my favorite because…. ” and it was interesting because each child did bring something different, unique and special to her life at different times. And I believe it was because the children appreciated those special letters that they (the kids) published them all together in the same article.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my! You have hit every note so well… loved it! That uncertain phase of life – one can never be prepared… one can only put on a brave front n pretend to be strong! The best we can do is be there for someone….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Cancer can be beaten. I’m a survivor of breast cancer, twice and recently (almost 6 years ago) I was diagnosed with stage IV inoperable lung cancer in both lungs. They gave me a year and I’ve made it almost six. I fight like hell and so far it’s worked. Five years of chemo mind you, but it was worth it.

    Great post, Kate.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. As the light begins to fade
    When the bell begins to toll
    Before they put me in a box
    Then put me in a hole
    Should I try to make amends?
    Should I try to change?
    Should I look back sadly
    On this life to rearrange?

    I don’t think so, sweetie pie
    Already it’s too late
    I’ll take the news quite cheerfully
    Accepting of my fate
    I’ll think about all that I’ve loved
    And all those things I’ll miss
    I’ll find life in the moment
    And I’ll find your lips to kiss.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Everyone needs closeness to another person, but we must remember that there is a time when you have to say goodbye to someone. We don’t want to think about death, but you have to be prepared for it.
    Your wise fast makes people aware and brings solutions.
    Best wishes

    Liked by 2 people

  11. It would really be a tough time. I don’t think we can be prepared for it in advance. We need to be there to make those decisions. Who knows how we will react to the news.

    Liked by 2 people

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