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Our Dance With Death by Joanne Viechweg

posted 28 Sep 2017, 18:05 by Gerry Kangalee
When I was a child death was unwelcome in the land of the living. Death was an outcast, a villain that was kept in exile. We closed ranks to protect ourselves against his vicious onslaught. Death’s success was rare and came only after persistent efforts to detect the chinks in our protective armour. Those chinks usually presented with society’s most vulnerable. They would include for the most part, the newly born, the elderly and those whose health had been compromised by some communicable disease. Death was indeed the stealthy thief in the night.

Not again! Now we woo death. We throw our doors open and insist that death come in. Death no longer has to steal from us as we now willingly give ourselves to his wiles.

It often takes a tragedy to tug at one’s consciousness. Many times it is a fatality or loss of some other kind that forces us to take a critical look at the choices being made, the values being held on to, individual expectations as a function of capabilities, available resources and so on.

Over the past two years two of this writer’s professional colleagues have been plagued by strokes, another two have experienced non-lethal heart attacks and just recently there was news that still another had succumbed to a fatal massive heart attack. This is not even to mention those who have developed cancers, diabetes and other lifestyle diseases. I am sure that if other citizens were to examine their own personal environments they too could recount similar occurrences. Many of us are choosing death; why?

Why do we still feel that we MUST have the meats that we KNOW are pumped full of hormones and harmful chemicals which pose a serious challenge to our bodies’ defences? Why do we continue to consume mounds of sugar when by now we must be aware that sugar is a highly addictive substance (some studies show that it is more addictive than cocaine) which also creates the ideal stomping ground for cancer cells to thrive. They love the stuff! Why do we feel that we must generate extra stress by being on call 24/7/365 via our radioactive devices but to spend a few minutes in quiet meditation each day could never be squeezed in to the busy professional lives of which we are so proud?

Just in case it is felt that I am being extreme; it was reported by the Ministry of Health for World Health Day 2013 that undiagnosed and/or uncontrolled hypertension was the main contributory factor behind heart attacks and strokes. The report further outlined that heart disease was the #1 cause of death in Trinidad and Tobago and that together with diabetes, various types of cancer and stroke this group of lifestyle diseases account for over 60% of all deaths annually.

Do we continue our dance with death or do we choose the good life?