Just about anyone starting in philosophy gets interested because of their fear of death. Sort of a decision to face it rather than fear it. After casting aside the religion I grew up with I’ve spent a lot of time considering the concept of death.
There is no way to be sure if there is something else after this so we are left with only this short existence. It’s the only for sure thing we have. Maybe an eternity of bliss awaits some or all of us. Maybe not. Just in case, I want to go knowing I did everything in life that I could. The ideal death is the one that comes after one’s life is complete.
Now throw in a bit of cancer.
How is one sure to do everything they could with a wild card like cancer?
Before I was diagnosed I knew I could get hit by a truck or SARS at any moment. That didn’t bother me because it’s another unknown. Unknowns by definition can’t be planned for so that’s just something to accept and live with. Cancer, on the other hand isn’t an immediate death sentence the way dying in a car wreck is.
It’s a bit like Death himself taking you by the hand and joining you in the day to day routine. Just a not-so-subtle reminder that you will die, and maybe sooner than your friends and loved ones.