“George Smith died this week, after a battle with cancer.”
Or, often, after a brave battle with cancer.
Sometimes the notice reads, George lost a brave battle with cancer, which seems to be rubbing George’s nose in it a bit.
Why is it that cancer survivors are never described as winning a battle with cancer?
Why do we never speak of someone’s “brave battle” with heart disease, or emphysema, or diabetes? What’s special about cancer? Perhaps we think of cancer, more than of other ailments, as some alien invader rather than a failing part of ourselves?
Does anyone ever not battle cancer, or not battle it bravely? “George Smith died this week, after failing, coward and weakling that he was, to put up a decent fight against cancer.”
When my turn comes to face this gruesome and painful disease, I hope the obituaries will say “[Yours Truly] died this week, after a long, interesting conversation with cancer.”
The image is a still from the movie Mysterious Island, by legendary animator Ray Harryhausen.