There has been much coverage in the media of late of Jade Goodys terminal cancer diagnosis - and much comment on how she is dealing with it. I have read several requests for her to 'die with dignity'.
Why should we, those of us with terminal cancer, die with dignity?
Whats wrong with shouting and stamping your feet and complaining at the injustice of it all? Or whats wrong with wringing every single last bit of enjoyment out of life before we finally pop our clogs? And yes, fairly publicly if we want to. We're not dead yet after all.
Whats wrong with using your situation to highlight awareness of your particular disease? Or maybe even campaign to help others who, in the future, may be in the same position as you?
The truth ofcourse is that for many people seeing, or reading about, someone who is approaching the end of their lives is an uncomfortable experience. It reminds them of their own mortality. Especially if its a young person.
Death, it seems, is still the final taboo. Especially an impending one. Some would prefer us, once we have been given that final sentence, once that dreadful word 'terminal' has been used, to retire behind the sanitized walls of a hospital or hospice and die quietly. And unobtrusively.
That is supposed to be 'dignified'.
But what 'dignity' is there in that?
What dignity is there in simply giving up, accepting your fate, quietly acquiescing for fear of upsetting somone?
The true dignity in death is doing exactly what YOU want to in your final days with your family and loved ones. Maybe quietly, maybe going out with a bang - but it must be what YOU want and not what others expect of you.