Sunday, August 28, 2011

Just When The Cankers Are Disappearing...Scabies!!!

No, I don't have scabies (at least, I don't think I do. More on that in a moment).

So I'm feeling much, much better than I was since my last post. This has been a rough week. Monday through Thursday were days of nearly impossible swallowing and congestion. When I did my show on Wednesday, I was so congested, I felt like I was performing in a bubble. Plus, swallowing was still painful. I felt very detached from the show.

Lidocaine became my new best friend. I had to gargle a mix of lidocaine and Maalox (which, frankly, has the consistency of snot, so, yeah, that was gross). But it did deaden the pain at least for an hour or two, so that was great.

The canker at the top of my tonsil has almost completely disappeared. The one behind my tongue seems to be disappearing, too. Yesterday was my first lidocaine-free day since Monday. It's still a bit uncomfortable to swallow, but not painful. I'm hoping by tomorrow or Tuesday the canker sore will be but a distant memory.

Besides, the cankers having shrunk, I'm just feeling much better than I've felt in a while, so that's great.

Oh, and by the way, I got my blood tested to see why I have been feeling ill these past two weeks. I've had shots and blood taken many times in my life and never had a problem with it. Usually, it's just a small prick, and then you're done. This particular nurse plunged that needle into my arm, then rooted around a while until she could find a vein. It certainly was not the most gentle injection I've ever had.

This, boys and girls, is the result of someone who is not very good at taking blood:

Now we have a scabies scare at work. If you are not familiar with this not-so-lovely condition, you can read about it here. Before I go into more detail, you should know that "scabies" is actually one of my favorite words and certainly my favorite disease/affliction-related word. When someone complains of any ailment, no matter what it is, it is not uncommon for me to jokingly respond, "I bet it's scabies." For example, "My knee hurts." "I bet it's scabies." Or the simpler version: "Boy, my nose is really runny today." "Scabies."

No joke, last year several members of the cast of the show I was in (many of whom are in my current show) entertained ourselves by substituting the word "baby" in common songs with "scabies." Among some of our classic pieces were "You Must Have Had Some Beautiful Scabies," "Scabie Love," "Scabie Face," "Hit Me, Scabies, One More Time," and my personal favorite, "Scary Scabies" (sung to the tune of The Four Seasons' "Sherry Baby").

It turns out that scabies is not nearly as funny when someone you actually know has it. Two days ago one of our cast members was diagnosed with it and announced this fun fact as a precaution to us that we may be infected as well. Scabies is highly contagious, and we have spent quite a run (including rehearsal) with this particular castmate, so it is possible any one of us (or all of us) might have it.

Unfortunately, it's very difficult to detect if you have scabies until you start showing symptoms. Scabies are little mites that burrow into your skin and lay eggs. Once those eggs hatch, the newly-born mites travel around under your skin, leaving rash-like track marks and uncontrollabe itching. It's not at all fun to have (although it's still fun to say).

If your skin is exposed to an infected person's skin, especially for a prolonged period of time, the mites can travel from their body to yours. You can also get it from sharing the same clothes or bed or furniture or, really, anything the infected person has touched. If you are infected, symptoms often don't appear for 4-6 weeks.

Our cast member got it from a roommate who went overseas on vacation and apparently picked it up in Asia. Our castmate, obviously, shares much of the same living space with this individual. The good news is her two other roommates, who also share the space, do not have it.

Our castmate also has been told she's probably been infected for about six or seven weeks now, so if we were infected, too, we would probably be showing signs already (but not necessarily). I also don't have a lot of physical contact, either onstage or off, with this person, so I'm hoping I'm safe. But you never know, and when you work with a tight-knit group of people who are sharing and touching a lot of the same things, there is a risk.

Naturally, we're all a bit skittish. We figure if we have it, it's too late anyway, and we'll just have to be treated once we actually start showing symptoms. We mostly deal with it by trying to have the same sense of humor we had when it was just a silly name and not an actual threat.

Watching how bad the itching is for my friend and fellow castmate (who we are now treating like a friendly leper) is hard, and even harder when we know it could just as easily be our own fate.

I still think scabies is a funny word, but I do wonder how funny it will be should I actually have contracted it. I guess we'll see. Hopefully, I will never know.

Jonah, who I'm visiting for a few days, is naturally concerned as well because he sure doesn't want it. I don't know what to do about it, though. If I have it, I already have it. Let's just hope I don't.

It's interesting how many people in the cast are experiencing psychosomatic itching. I haven't experienced that myself, but the few itches I do have make me think twice.

Funny Scabies:

Not-So-Funny Scabies:

Please, Lord, don't let me have scabies!

Monday, August 22, 2011

And Now For Something Gross

So I have been feeling under the weather the last couple of weeks off and on. One day I'll feel fine, and then the next day I'll feel terrible, and then just when I feel I'm rebounding, the cycle starts over again.

My symptoms have primarily consisted of joint aches (the kind one gets when they have the flu) and general fatigue. Sometimes, however, there has also been congestion and fever.

On Friday a new element appeared. It hurt to swallow, and gave me a painful sensation seemingly deep inside my ear that felt like an ear infection. I finally decided to have myself checked out by a doctor.

So he looks in my ear and doesn't see anything. Next he examines my throat and says, "Whoa, you've got a giant canker sore on your tonsil.

I am surprised that I even have a tonsil since I got mine out when I was eleven, but lo and behold, my tonsils have grown back (at least partially), which apparently is not as uncommon as I believed it was. I have no idea how long I have actually had my newly-discovered tonsils, but I assume they have been there a while.

Anyway, the doctor said that, really, the best thing to do was to let the canker run its course. Anyway, today my throat felt even worse (I couldn't even sleep last night because it hurt to swallow), so I went to another doctor for a second opinion. Lo and behold, I actually have a second canker growing on my tonsil behind my tongue. I was also running a 100 degree fever. Anyway, I've been tested for a couple of viruses and should get the results soon. In the meantime, my doctor prescribed me some antibiotics (in case it isn't a virus) and gave me some lidocaine which I gargle with some Maalox, and that does ease the pain somewhat.

In any case, I would not wish these two canker sores on my worst enemy. It has really been quite painful. Eating yogurt today was a feat! In fact, I haven't eaten much today because it hurts so much. One website said, "One of the most painful types of canker sores you get is a canker sore in the tonsil," and I am finding that to be true.

Fortunately, I tested negative for strep throat and, happily, these sores have not affected my ability to sing and act, which of course, is very important for my job. But I have felt pretty crappy all week and today, in particular.

Anyway, here's some photos of one of my canker sores (the other, more painful, one is behind my tongue and was too hard to photograph. Both cankers are about the same size (slightly smaller than a dime), and they suck!

That white spot down right of my uvula is canker #1. Canker # 2 is below right of it, behind my tongue, but proved too difficult to photograph.

Here is a closeup of canker #1 (I think these two cankers are the largest I have ever had in my life):

Another closeup of canker #1 (the white mass down right of my uvula):

TMI? Probably.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Trio of Benoit, Ray, And Cody: Mission Friendships That Have Endured

I've written about Benoit before. He was a guy I taught on my mission, and you can read much about him in that post.

On Facebook the other day, my old missionary companion (let's call him Ray) wrote that he had visited our dear friend, Benoit recently and said the following:

I just returned from visiting [the city in which we served] (I'm still a bit jet lagged). I was their for 10 days and had a lovely time. I hope you will smile to know that your missionary efforts of 18 years ago continue to bring about good.-- I stayed with [Benoit], his wife, and their two boys (ages 9 and 5). -- What a beautiful family! --- [Benoit's] mother (who if you remember said she would disown [Benoit] if he joined the Mormon church) was baptized earlier this year. [Benoit] now serves as the bishop of the...ward.

My goodness, that warmed my heart! To see this man get baptized, serve a mission, get married in the temple, have a family, and now serve as a bishop (and I would bet millions he's a great one) in the ward we served in when we taught him just makes me weep with joy. I thank my Father in Heaven that I was privileged enough to be involved in Benoit's initial conversion and to see how far he's come since then. It really fills me with gratitude. I am honored that God allowed me to be one of the missionaries who was there when His Holy Spirit helped Benoit gain a testimony.

I wrote Benoit on Facebook:

[Ray] said he saw you, and that you are the bishop in [the city where we served] now. He also said that you and your family are well. I am so happy that you are still strong in the gospel. I miss you a lot, my friend.

All my love,


Benoit replied:

I miss you, too, my eternal friend. I am thankful that you and [Ray] saved my life. I would love so much to see you again one day, but at the moment it isn't possible for us to come to Utah. I would love to present to you my family so that you can know them. God bless you, my friend. Lots of love.


I'd like to remind Benoit that it wasn't Ray and I that saved his life, but his loving and watchful Heavenly Father. I'm so glad that life has given Benoit everything I always thought he deserved. Yea!

Ray's brother is gay, and Ray wrote me (in the same note):

One day I want to understand your situation better (if you are willing to share). I suppose it is too complex a discussion for facebook, so perhaps we will save it for a time we get to catch-up in person. My intent is not one of simple "curiosity"-- but truly to better understand.

I shared with him some thoughts (many of which I've written in this blog). Ray then wrote:

...a theme I have picked-up on over the past several years of General Conference [is] what we do is certainly important; but more important is what we become.-- Or said in another way: we are wise to monitor how our thoughts and actions shape how charitably we feel towards others, because in the end (as the scriptures teach) we will be judge by our hearts and how charitable we have become.-- I lack the ability to put myself in your shoes, and know how you feel-- but it is impressive that you continue to focus on being kind, and loving (as Christ would be), even toward people who fail to see that their own sins of pride & selfishness are a weightier matter to God than the gender to which a man or woman feels attracted.---- Well we both have 50 more years on this planet-- during which we will have the opportunity to discuss this issue further. Until then my good friend...



I replied:

Thanks for your thoughts, [Ray]. I agree with what you've said. As for me, I'm just trying to live the best life I can and take comfort that my Father is my ultimate judge. I just hope I am doing Him proud.

Love ya lots,


to which he replied:

Your comment made me smile really big. -- I happen to love the writings of C.S. Lewis. A great quote from his book Mere Christianity says this:

"Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and a good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as fiends. Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing, and then with the power, say, of Himmler? That is why Christians are told not to judge. We see only the results which a man's choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it. Most of the man's psychological makeup is probably due to his body: when his body dies all that will fall off him, and the real central man, the thing that chose, that made the best or the worst out of this material, will stand naked. All sorts of nice things which we thought our own, but which were really due to a good digestion, will fall off some of us : all sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then, for the first time, see every one as he really was. There will be surprises. -- Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis"

Lewis wasn't speaking directly to the homosexual issue-- so you will forgive such terms as 'fiend'.-- I love how he points out that we all start with different "raw material"-- and God is more interested in seeing our efforts to turn our raw material into something acceptable to Him-- and less interested in what our raw material has actually become.--- In short-- He wants to see us each do the best that we can, with what we have been given.-- As Christians we should not think that each of our 'best efforts' will look the same from a surface glace.-- Lewis doesn't speak from the light of the restored gospel-- so he is not accurate in his understanding of our body not being a factor n the final judgment-- but I believe his principle is correct.

And I said:

I believe his principle is correct, too. I really like that book. Lots of good stuff in it. Thanks for sharing it.

I like C.S Lewis. He was a good man. So are Ray and Benoit.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Members Of The Body, All Important

The other day in church our instructor in Sunday School was talking about how all of us are needed. It's like the scriptures say,

For the body is not one member, but many.

If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

And if they were all one member, where were the body?

But now are they many members, yet but one body.

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:

That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

(1 Corinthians 12: 14-26)

Sometimes when one goes to church, they may feel like they don't belong or they may feel misunderstood or shunned or feel like they aren't contributing.

Heck, as an excommunicated member of the LDS Church, I could choose to feel this way. But we are all important. We are all needed. The pinky toe is just as vital a member as the heart. The appendix is just as valid as the brain. The gall bladder is just as much a creation of the body as the mouth is. We are all here for a reason. God made the body the way he did for a reason, and likewise, he made each of us as members of the human family or ward family the way he did for a reason. We all have different contributions to make, different strengths and talents, and we are all here for an important reason.

I like that.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Pure Love

As I'm sure some of you are aware, Chieko Okazaki, who served as first counselor in the Relief Society from 1990-1997, passed away about a week ago. Sister Okazaki served in that position when I served as a missionary from 1992-1994. I loved her speaking style and her manner and found her very refreshing and open-minded. My mom sent me her book, Lighten Up when I was one my mission, and it helped me a great deal at a time when I was beating myself up for not living up to what I felt I was supposed to living up to. I love her writing style, and really felt that Sister Okazaki's words spoke to my spirit.

I eventually read her books, Aloha, Cat's Cradle, and Disciples, all of which I enjoyed. I intend to read her other books eventually. I'm sure I will like them as well.

In the article in the Salt Lake Tribune, which memorialized her, there was a quote from Sister Okazaki. It said, "Perfect people don’t need a savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living and the living make mistakes. He’s not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief.”

You know I really believe that. There was a time in life when I felt so unworthy and so much that I was disappointing God or making him sad. I no longer feel that way. God knows who I am and knows my heart perfectly, just as He knows you and yours. He is not embarrassed by us. He is not angry with us. He is not surprised or shocked by anything we do. He knows we're human and subject to human frailties and weaknesses. And he planned for that. We would have no need of a Savior if we were perfect, and I believe Jesus' atonement makes up for that which we lack. I believe our Father is more loving and merciful than we can possibly comprehend. I think as humans we often attribute a lot of our own negative qualities and emotions on our Creator because that is all we understand. We sometimes see God as angry or full of shame for us or disgusted by us. We see him as stern or think that some of the things we do are so bad that He couldn't possibly love or tolerate us. Some people think God hates them. I just don't believe that is who God is. Feel free to disagree all you want; but I don't believe that's what God is about.

Granted, religions sometimes teach us to feel this way or sometimes we misinterpret doctrine and that causes us to believe it is so. I also think our relationships with our imperfect human associates on this planet paint our attitudes and beliefs about our perfect Father in Heaven. Parents might throw their kids out or turn their backs on them because of behaviors they disapprove of, so we might feel that our Heavenly Father would do the same. We might be so disgusted by a person's actions that we find it nigh impossible to forgive them, so we think our Father would react the same way. We may be angry or disappointed at someone for perpetrating an act we find intolerable or unfavorable, so we assume our Father would behave the same way.

Here's the thing: how we view God is created by the filter our mortal life has given us. Our religious upbringings; what our parents taught us; what our social interactions with other human beings have taught us; the examples we see or read about, how people treat one another, etc.: these are all things that have an effect on how we view God (or on whether we even decide there is a God at all). But ultimately, how I view God these days is based very much on all those things, but also on one more thing: how He has dealt with me personally. I very much believe in an all-loving, very merciful, very understanding God because that is what I have felt from Him personally. It is what His spirit has spoken to my heart. I can't convince anyone else of what I have felt myself, but I know I have felt it, and I very much believe it.

We talk about charity or "the pure love of Christ" a lot, and I have really been thinking a lot about this lately. When one thinks about what purity means, it is something that is unmixed with anything else. It does not contain anything extraneous. It is completely free of taint, stain, spot, or imperfection. There is no harshness or roughness. It is absolute. It is free of any weakness or pollutants. It is undiluted, undefiled, completely refined, and unadulterated. All those human frailties and biases we attach to love in its human form do not taint God's pure love for us.

When we think of how our mortal bodies handle things in complete purity, it is actually overwhelming. Pure sunlight will burn or blind us. Pure oxygen in large and steady doses would actually cause brain damage. Things in their purest form are often overwhelming to our imperfect mortal bodies. I think God's love is impossible to fully comprehend in mortality, although I think we grow to understand it in bits and pieces. But I do believe His love is more powerful, more unconditional, more far-reaching, more compassionate, more forgiving, more merciful, more understanding, and, frankly, more loving than any of us here fully realize.

I see snatches of it in my fellow human beings: the victim who forgives the person that did them wrong; the parent who still loves their child in spite of their doing some awful things; the person who, in spite of terrible circumstances, is continually able to find the good in the situation; the man or woman who will give someone the shirt off their back to help them through a tough time; the huge amounts of generosity I see from people, giving all they can to help others - often complete strangers. So many examples of love. I have to remind myself of them when I read about the terrible things people sometimes do to one another.

I think heaven will be a wonderful place, far more joyful and free of much of the impurity that taints our current existence than we can fully understand. When I've read about near-death experiences, often people will talk about how they are given the opportunity to review the life they have lived, but there is no judgment coming from God, just love. In fact, most experiences I've read about indicate that any judgment is coming from the person who has "died," not God. And many people come back from these experiences trying to describe an indescribable love that is beyond anything they've known in mortality. Many of these people are left feeling that love is the most important lesson one can learn in mortality.

I also believe how we love or judge others in this life will have an effect on where we will end up in the next. But I also believe that where we ultimately end up is where we will be happiest or most at ease, and that, to me, is proof of a very loving Heavenly Father. God doesn't consign us to a lower kingdom because He doesn't love us; it's because He knows that the purity of His love would overwhelm our impure spirits. It's because He loves us that He puts us where we will thrive and grow and progress the most.

I love and believe in my Heavenly Father. I know he loves each and every one of us with an absolute perfect knowledge of who we are and what we have been through. I truly wish I could convey that love to others. Words are not enough. A person's spirit must feel it to know it. It is my hope that those of you who don't feel it or haven't felt it, will. Because He is real and His love is real.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


I think I've mentioned this before, but I don't have any problems with the topic of death. Some people are bothered by it or afraid of it or afraid of talking about it, but I am not one of them. While I miss my loved ones when they pass on, I feel very confident that I will see them again.

I actually enjoy going to funerals. I may not enjoy the reason I'm going, but I love hearing people reflect on a person's life and sharing stories and experiences involving that person, and generally a funeral celebrates a person's life and brings out the very best that person had to offer in his or her life, and I like that.

I am not afraid to die. I do not feel any reason to fear. Death is just a part of life, and a temporary one at that. We're all going to die someday. Tomorrow. A month from now. A year from now. 10 years from now. 40 years from now. It's going to happen eventually. None of us can escape it or outrun it, so why spend any energy or fear trying?

Even if heaven doesn't exist (which I very much believe it does), well then, we're just gone, so why fear that, either?

I think no matter what we've done in life, the afterlife will very much be a place filled with love and knowledge and goodness. Dallin H. Oaks once said, "The good people of the world will not be disappointed by the terrestrial kingdom. The bad people of the world will be utterly astonished to do as well as the telestial kingdom, for despite all of its relative drawbacks, it is a kingdom of glory reserved by a Father in Heaven who loves his children and ‘saves all the works of his hands." I feel good about my life. I have few regrets or unfinished business. I feel like I have done my best to live a good life, and I feel confident that wherever I end up in the afterlife, I will be happy. So what is there to fear about that?

I am not uncomfortable talking about death or talking about preparations that might make death easier for those one leaves behind. The other day my mom and I were going over some paperwork her lawyer had prepared for her involving power-of-attorney issues, health directive issues, and her last will and testament. As is usually the case, Mom finds it all very uncomfortable and depressing to talk about, and I have a hard time comprehending why. It was the same type of thing when she and I went to get her burial arrangements done. She just doesn't like talking about, and so sometimes it's difficult to get much input on what her last wishes might be.

My sister-in-law came over while Mom and I were going over her papers. Like me, my sister-in-law has no problem talking about death or dying, and she and I started talking about these issues. Mom finally said, "This is the most depressing conversation," and both my sister-in-law and I were genuinely confused about why people feel that way.

I'm a very pragmatic, practical person. I want Jonah to know exactly what my burial wishes or health issues are. My sister-in-law and I both agreed that we don't want to be kept alive just for the sake of family members who aren't ready to let us go? Why should they be so afraid to let us go? It's only temporary as far as I am concerned, and keeping us around in a vegetative state isn't going to do either of us any good.

Mom wants to be kept alive as long as possible. That's certainly her choice, but I have a hard time understanding it, although I will respect and abide by it if that's what she wishes. If one is suffering, for example, why does one want to remain in that state if one doesn't have to? And isn't that just making it harder on those who have to watch you suffer? On the flip side, I also don't understand those who can't let their loved ones go, even if they subconsciously know it would be for the best.

My sister-in-law and I talked about how cremation is a viable option for us. For me, I like the idea of cremation because it's more economical and environmentally friendly, and the romantic in me likes the idea of scattering my ashes somewhere cool. And if one believes in resurrection (which I do), then putting us back together should be a breeze for a perfect and all-knowing Heavenly Father.

Jonah does not like the idea of cremation. He wants somewhere where he can go to properly mourn me. I told him if he feels that way, he can put my ashes in an urn on our fireplace mantle and mourn me every day if he likes. But the fact is, I'm not actually in that urn. I'm not in that hole in the ground. My mortal remains might be, but the essence of who I am is not, so why should it make a difference where or how my body is buried or disposed of? Just as Jonah says that God is not confined within the walls of any church, my spirit is not confined to my mortal remains, so it shouldn't make a difference. And why mourn me? I'm not gone forever. It's just a brief time in the cosmos away from one another.

I get why we mourn people's passing. We love them, and when they leave us, it does leave a hole in our lives. But it shouldn't be a surprise that it does happen and will happen to everyone, nor should we let it prevent us from living the best lives we can while we still have them in mortality.

When my grandfather died, for example, my grandmother stopped living for a while. Oh, her body was present, but she chose to live in gloom and melancholy for years, and it wasn't until my cousin was born (when new life entered her life) that she was finally able to live life more fully again. I understand she loved my grandfather very much and felt lost without him, but I also think of the many years she wallowed in self-pity and sorrow and wonder if she was really honoring his life by refusing to let go of his death. Was she doing him or herself any favors by refusing to move on.

My father died while I was on my mission. I did not go to the funeral. I was far away in Europe doing work which I felt was important, and which I know my father felt was important. Some people I've encountered are surprised I didn't go to the funeral and say that it must have been hard not to be able to attend. I hope it doesn't sound cold or callous, but, no, it really wasn't. I loved my father very much, and while it would have been nice to attend, the fact is my father was not in that casket. Yes, his body was, but he wasn't. I think I honored his life more by doing something he felt was important and honored the lives of those I was serving by continuing to help the living than I would have been able to do by attending his funeral. He knew I loved him. I knew I loved him. And really, what more could I have done there by actually being physically present that I wasn't already doing by honoring the memory of his spirit?

I am convinced, too, that I felt my father's presence while in church the week after he died. I felt his hand on my shoulder as strongly as I had felt it when he was still alive in mortality. My dad was as much with me as he ever was in mortality.

The fact is that people sometimes have this idea that heaven or the afterlife are somehow far, distant, unattainable places. I believe the spirits of those who have past on are right here with us, and I believe, too, that when we are really in tune, we can feel them and, yes, even sometimes see them.

I think of how great it will be to be reunited with those that have passed on or to meet those we never knew in mortality. What a great thing that will be! And what wonderful things we will learn and feel on the other side. I truly believe that.

I do hope when I die, it will be quick. While I am not afraid to die, I do not find the prospect of a slow, dragged-out death filled with a lot of suffering too appealing. Whatever the Lord has in store for me, I'll have to take; but I would much rather fall asleep one night and just die in my sleep or die instantly in a car crash than lie in a hospital bed drowning in my own fluids for months and months on end while my family watches me slowly waste away.

But I don't suppose the majority of us don't get to choose how we die. As for me, right now I feel like I have so much to live for, so I'm not eager to die any time soon, but when it is time, I don't believe I will fear it, and I hope it's quick.

If you were uncomfortable reading this topic, my apologies, but I see no reason to be, either.