Column: The Past Future is Now Present

Column: The Past Future is Now Present


Kenneth B. Lourie

Presumably, maybe even obviously, nearly six years into a “terminal” diagnosis, arrangements for a smooth transition of power should have been made already. But they haven’t. Not being a parent, and with no real extenuating-type circumstances to consider, despite the rather precarious existence in which I find myself I’ve never felt strongly about taking the steps necessary to arrange for a future which didn’t involve yours truly.

Selfish, stupid, stubborn or any number of other characterizations which don’t begin with the letter “s,” I’ve never put down anywhere on paper – literally or figuratively – what would, in the event of my death, need to happen, how any of it should happen, and/or why it would even happen. So far, as concerns my wife, Dina, should I in fact predecease her, I’ve pretty much left it to happenstance. Moreover, given her interests, it seems unfair of me to not assist her somehow in a post-Kenny world.

Still, I’ve always felt that doing so, however prudent and practical – and considerate – was bad luck, sort of; a version of negative reinforcement. By not thinking of death/planning for it, somehow I was preventing its occurrence, dare I say (given my original “13-month-to-two-year prognosis”), its inevitability. And though I don’t specifically know why this uneasy feeling has manifested itself of late (I’ve not received any discouraging medical news of late), it has; and ignoring the consequences of my continuing neglect seems ill-advised.

In addition, throughout this cancer experience, it has been suggested that managing stress (among other anecdotal-type advisories: keeping a positive attitude, maintaining a sense of humor, being a compliant patient) would be beneficial in the short, medium and long term battle royal that all cancer patients endure. But diagnosis-to-date, I’ve not addressed this most stressful, what-to-do/what-needs-to-be-done problem. And though a properly executed will would certainly be a start, it would not be a finish. There are more mundane instructions and organizational details, tedious as they me be, which would likely drastically reduce a level of stress which unbeknownst to me and my conscious, has probably invaded my subconscious, with predictable effect. I don’t imagine solving this problem would put a bounce in my step; however, it would definitely eliminate a potential drag on my coefficient. And if my life is going to be lived, the less drag on it, the better.

Whatever I can do to lighten the load should be priority number one. I don’t want to be spinning my emotional wheels over here. Cancer imposes enough pressure externally; I don’t need to add to it internally.

Kenny Lourie is an Advertising Representative for The Potomac Almanac & The Connection Newspapers.