In some corner of our psyches, we all believe we're immortal.
This belief persists though we know intellectually that we are all terminal, drawn from the moment of our birth toward extinction.
In my case, that myth was shattered in the dead of the night, when a tumor announced its presence with a seizure so violent that I collapsed on a tile floor, fracturing my back.
Doctors scanned my brain. They discovered a growth the size of a boiled egg. A brain tumor. An astrocytoma.
It was malignant.
My life went into free fall. I felt confusion, fury. Mostly, I felt crushing guilt about the pain my death would inflict on Emmy, my beautiful three-year-old daughter. How could I leave her fatherless?
Even as I recovered from surgery, I started to write letters to her. I wanted her to know that I loved her. It hurt me that she might ask her mother, "What was daddy like?" That she would remember little or nothing about me.
It was in this process of writing that I discovered hope that not only helped my body fend off the tumor, but that also quelled the psychic turmoil that can make life seem meaningless.
Few appreciate that life's final passage -- a journey beginning after a pronouncement of almost certain death -- becomes an inner quest beyond sorrows toward a universal core. Like all passages, it is one of discovery.
My letters to Emmy are postcards from a storm, documenting that journey.
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