There are very few things in this world I can say I hate. Don’t get me wrong, there are things (and maybe people) I might have reason to hate. My life has not been a bed of roses all the time ~ or, maybe it has been a bed of roses, complete with aphids and giant thorns, but generally sweet-smelling and beautiful, from a distance. Look, I’m not saying I’ve had the hardest life in the world. In truth, I have been blessed. There are those few things, ‘though, that might incite a modicum of rancor. But, see, I don’t do that. I don’t do rage well, and I have trouble holding a grudge, or having malevolent thoughts toward anyone or anything. I’ve tried ~ oh, how I’ve tried! ~ but I am not easily incited to hate, even by the most destestable of things. Onions, which I might say I hate, are not really all that despised. I still use them in cooking, and I even eat them on occasion (not raw ~ that’s just crazy talk). But hate? Hate is reserved for the lowest of the low. I don’t think I even hate cockroaches. I mean, I don’t want to hang out with them, and they terrify me for some inexplicable reason, but hate? Nah. Not really.
There is one thing I can think of in all the world that I hate with a passion: Cancer. I hate Cancer. I actively hate it, as if I think my hate might destroy it, once and for all. Cancer has, more than anyone or anything in this world, hurt me and the people I love. It is insidious ~ hiding, undetected, lying in wait for its next victim. It robs people of their health, their dignity, their lives. It leaves families and communities devastated in its wake. It tears apart foundations we thought were unshakable. It is torturous and cruel. And there’s not even someone you can blame. No one to kick in the shins; no one at whom to hurl obscenities; no mouth to punch. I hate it. It has robbed me of so many people I love ~ not “loved,” but STILL LOVE, because love does not end with death ~ and caused so many more to suffer indescribably. I detest it, with every fiber of my being.
With the death of David Bowie on Sunday of this week, and Alan Rickman on Thursday ~ both due to that insidious beast, Cancer ~ I find myself confronting that anger, once again. That hate, for a thing I cannot change. It’s not fair. The world should have had them longer. Their immense talent should have lived to see thousands more sunsets. Thousands. Generations of young people will know them as “late.” “The late David Bowie.” “The late Alan Rickman.” How is that so, when their talent burned so brightly, and they were so real and present and tangible, just moments ago? The people I know (so very many) who are Cancer survivors shouldn’t have had to wage a war within their own bodies. Those who did not survive should still be here. But Cancer. Cancer doesn’t care.
And so, if you ask me what I hate, I will say, “Cancer.” I hate it, and if there is anything in the world I think I can do to fight it, I will. It’s sucker-punched me one time too many.
As I can’t find a better way to wrap up my rhetoric this morning, I will leave you with the words of two immensely talented men whose light shone so brightly in their all too brief time on Earth:
“If only life could be a little more tender and art a little more robust.”
Alan Rickman (Feb. 21, 1946-Jan. 14, 2016)
“The truth is, of course, that there is no journey. We are all arriving and departing all at the same time.”
David Bowie (Jan. 8, 1947-Jan.10, 2016)
May they rest in peace.