Please welcome our guest writer for today, Annie Williams.  Annie graduated in 2013 and currently lives in Mount Hermon, California.  She blogs at


A.B.             A.H.             T.B.             R.W.             C.L.             M.R.             W.VK.

Cancer has been the tune of death in my little world.

  1. She recovered. Her preschool aged boys still have a mommy.
  2. He has terminal cancer: glioblastoma multiforme. He’s doing well. Well enough that my desire to give him a kick in the seat of the pants doesn’t seem sinful.
  3. She died less than a year after the diagnosis.
  4. He’s still trucking. I didn’t think he’d make it this long. The tumor is on his liver and wrapped around his gallbladder.
  5. She’s too too too young. She’s gone through all of the treatments and none have helped.
  6. She had Hodgkin’s disease in college. Over thirty years later, she had breast cancer. It went into remission. It came back and killed her.
  7. He died a week after the diagnosis.

When the local cancer rash was taking off, my younger brother asked, “does everyone get cancer?” No. Not everyone. But in a small community, it sure as hell seems that way.

But Death, as in the narrator of The Book Thief, would not enjoy such a tune, at all. Cancer, cancer I hate. Death, the narrator, I love. Death the narrator is comforting, pleasant, desirable. Maybe there is in me a subconscious pull toward death, toward the comfort of certainty.

“You cannot fail. There are only varying degrees of better.” Oh? Oh, Irene? Of course, I can’t argue with her. She’s in Michigan. And counselors have a nasty habit of being reasonable.

“If the son of God got pissed off, I’m pretty sure it’s okay for you to be angry,” said Reagan. Fine. So I’m angry with Death. But is it death toying with people? No. Death does its job. Sometimes I wish it’d come quicker, stop the suffering. Sometimes I wish we’d allow death to do its job. Let people die in peace at home rather than incubated with life-saving devices in a square space of cleanliness. Death isn’t clean.

Cancer. Be angry at cancer. Be angry at depression. At bipolar I and II. At Parkinson’s. At all those nasty, vein-creeping, dull knives that cut away slowly and cruelly at people, that make us call for Death while clinging to a god-forsaken life.

It is sinful, supposedly, to desire death, or at least to act upon that desire. Which I think is bullshit. If suicide shoots a person down to hell, then I have friends there whom I’d like to join.

“We sin because we need to sin.” Did you just say that, Pastor Mary? Yes. Meaning there is a deep hurt unexpressed that sinning lets out, releases to see and to dismantle, to maybe understand, to embrace, even.

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