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Is There a Right Way to Die?

How does one accept death but not forget to live? Is there a right way to die?

Written Nov 10, 2022. Shared with the permission of Meagan McKee from her blog, A Life Well Lived

It’s been three weeks, to the day, since they told me the news. 21 days. 500-some odd hours. Over 30,000 minutes living with the knowledge that the cancer is in my brain. And it’s not just a solid tumor but actually floating in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in my brain.

photo of Meagan McKee, profile in foreground against green valley and mountain horizon. Meagan is the author of this blog post, Is there a right way to die?

But what do I do now? Make all the plans I can and travel the country? Spend all of my money on interesting experiences? Eat everything in sight because who cares if I’m overweight in the afterlife? Honestly, I’ve done nothing. Sure, I booked one flight but otherwise, I’ve quite literally done nothing. I don’t know if it’s fear, or if I’m still trying to process it, or if this is how people just deal with death — by living the same old way they were before they knew it was closer than ever.

How does one accept death but not forget to live? Is there a right way to die?

It’s almost as if the monotony is a comfort of some kind. It’s keeping me from freaking out. From breaking down into a puddle of tears and Kleenex every day. Though I don’t know if I can muster up the courage to ‘go out swinging.’ I want to continue to live but if I start planning, can I actually accomplish it all or will I find myself incapable of stepping outside my norm or will I be unable to physically make my plans happen?

All of this talk of plans and travel and see more of the world before I go, sounds amazing. But what if taking naps, watching bad Lifetime films with my mom, and spending hours reading is the better way to die? To pass slowly and without fuss. Relaxed and hopefully fulfilled with a sense of peace.

Right now I guess I’ll sit and do a bit of waiting. Sus things out. Get a feel for what my body and mind might be capable of. I don’t need to decide today, but I want to make the call before it’s made for me.

About the Author

In the summer of 2020 Meagan McKee was given a life-altering cancer diagnosis—a diffuse midline glioma in her thoracic spine. A terminal, primarily pediatric cancer that somehow managed to grow in her 30-year-old spinal cord. In July 2021 Meagan enrolled with Lazarex Cancer Foundation to receive financial reimbursement for travel expenses for her clinical trial treatments.