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Death (HOW TO DEAL WITH DEATH, 2011)
Jun 13, 2011

Hi, I was wondering how you deal with all of the death that you have seen. I lost my father a year ago and it drives me crazy. I am seeing councelor and am on anti-depressants but that doesn't change what is inevitable and if it is going to be ok for everyone in the end. I just keep wondering: how bad is it going to be? When is it going to happen and when I look at my children, I wonder who is going to go first. I do not want to be left here all alone and i don't want to leave them here either. I am not able to get out much and so I just sit here and think about it. I even pray that something will just take all of us at once. enI know you lost your brother and I am sorry. I just wonder how you get through seeing so much of it and how you can possibly be so happy all of the time. Not much of a question I know. It is just that you seem to have beaten the fear and don't seem to have the depression/sadness like most folks I know. thanks, Linda

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello, Linda.

A full discussion of how to cope with our mortality is beyond the scope and purpose of this forum and Web site, which is devoted to HIV information and awareness. Consequently I'll respond only briefly.

As a physician, particularly an HIV/AIDS specialist for over three decades, I have indeed dealt with death extensively. I view it as a natural progression of our humanness, something we will all get to experience. In truth, I'm quite curious about what comes after this life, but I don't believe in the classic heaven and hell stories. I believe my brother, my former patients and your dad have found a place of health, happiness and wonderment far beyond what we mere mortals can even dream of. I doubt your dad wants you to mope around mourning his transition or worrying about your own ultimate passing. Life only goes in one direction. Why waste today worrying about tomorrow? I certainly don't want folks to get depressed when I die. I'd much prefer they remember me with a smile. I agree with George Bernard Shaw and Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. The being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy . . . . Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." George Bernard Shaw

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Linda, continue working with your therapist. Your depression and fear will improve and when it does, I'm confident you'll remember your dad with a smile instead of a frown.

Dr. Bob



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