It seems health care these days is costing individuals in the Western world more and more whether we pay for it through taxes that fund universal medicare or privately. And so often, much time and resources are devoted to what are ultimately losing battles against terminal illness.

One senior I knew who had prostate cancer fought it for a while with drugs and medical procedures, but then resigned himself to it and gave up the fight. He had known from the outset that it would kill him, but he thought he could buy more time with medical attention — with emphasis on the word “buy” here.

And perhaps it did buy him a little more time, but the treatments made him feel sick and miserable. In the long run, was it worth it to devote all those resources and energy giving him an extra year or so?

I wonder if we as a society spend too much time and money trying to delay the inevitable?

What does it says about our acceptance — or nonacceptance — of death as part of the natural cycle of life? Or is that a contradiction in terms?

I suppose it depends on your belief about what comes after death.

Personally, in my heart and soul, I believe we are essentially immortal bits of energy (call it what you will) cloaked in flesh that are transformed — liberated, some feel — when our physical bodies die, that we take on different “bodies” or “forms” in this long day of the universe, though not necessarily in this particular material world or dimension.

But for those who see this life and existence itself as a one-shot deal followed by eternal nothingness, I suppose that preserving it is paramount — though, eternal sleep might not be so bad, either.

What do you think? Do we have the right mindset about death? Do we spend too much time and energy trying to delay the inevitable? Where should we draw the line?

— Jillian