Cancer & COVID-19

Responding to sickness and death on our doorstep

Part of being and doing good is having a good response to tragedy and death. Religious voices often talk about God's presence and the comfort of heaven when tragedy strikes. But what if you do not see evidence to believe in either of these, at least not literally? How do you handle sickness, death and dying? Here are some nonreligious resources for responding to illnesses and diseases like cancer and COVID-19:

A nontheistic prayer in the face of tragedy and death
From Another Breath: Prayers for Celebration and Reflection by Gretta Vosper.

"The Earth is my Mother"
A nonreligious alternative to Psalm 23 ('The Lord is my shepherd').
(Can be read to a nonreligious friend or family member who is dying)

"I Go to Take My Place"
A nonreligious alternative to John 14 ('Let not your heart be troubled').
(Can be read as parting words from a nonreligious friend or family member who is dying)

A Facebook post by Liam Neeson, on losing someone you love.

A Facebook post by Christopher Walken, on facing loss.

"Oh My Love" by The Small Glories
A song about losing your dearest love.
Lyrics to "Oh My Love" by The Small Glories

"Apprends moi" (Teach me) by Mireille Mathieu
A song about learning to live without the one you loved.
Teach me, English translation to Apprends moi

"I'll See You in My Dreams" by Bruce Springsteen (scroll down to Info)
A song about death not being the end because your loved one lives on in your dreams.

Keith Martin's Tribute to his wife Jenny
Jenny died of stage 4 ovarian cancer August 8, 2019. A Celebration of Life was held on September 14, 2019 with 2 AV tributes and a slideshow of Jenny's Life. From September 18 - October 5, 2019 Keith took a trip to New England and Atlantic Canada, revisiting honeymoon sites and spreading Jenny's ashes in the Atlantic Ocean:
"Into the West" by Annie Lennox: lyrics and visuals in pdf format
"Into the Mystic" by Van Morrision: lyrics and visuals in pdf format
Slideshow of Jenny's Life: visuals in pdf format
Keith's Trip to New England and Atlantic Canada: narration and visuals in pdf format
Spreading Jenny's Ashes on Berford Lake island: FB post and visuals in pdf format
"I'll See You In My Dreams" by Bruce Springsteen: lyrics and visuals in pdf format on the 2nd anniversary of our Celebration of Jenny's Life

Words of wisdom about COVID-19 that Bill Gates did NOT write
Words of wisdom falsely attributed to Bill Gates that are still worth considering

Some resources on the Resources for Being and Doing Good page can help in a time of crisis as well as normalcy, such as:  
Psychology and the Good Lifea course taught at Yale University covering 10 insights on finding happiness. Included are: Make time for social connections, Importance of helping others, Make time for gratitude, Healthy practices like exercise and sleep matter more than you think, Take time to be in the present moment, and Become wealthy in time, not money.
12 Rules for Life, especially the comparison between 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson and what Keith Martin would include in his own list. Many of these can help in a time of anxiety and pain. 

A more realistic quote after someone you love dies might be, "Don't just cry because it's over. Be incredibly grateful that it (your relationship and the person's life) happened."