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Personal Narratives by Clifton A. Casteel

Author, Noted Researcher and Teacher

Clifton A. Casteel, Author, Researcher and Teacher 


Why Illness and not Death

Written by Clifton A. Casteel


 I have smelled the sweet aroma of success and may I add, with little appreciation. Now without my accord, I must eat the bitter fruits of illness and pain, and only wonder if ever will I be able to drink the sweet and refreshing wine of death. I ask the heavens above: Why should a man suffer with a gut-wrenching malady, yet the lowest of beasts die much quicker and without much discomfort? And why should a man with much morals and regard for others suffer a debilitating illness; on the other hand, a man who reeks of evilness should be allowed to be free from the virulent arms of suffering. It is true that I am like any man, I would prefer a fruitful and long life and when the time expires I am given a quick painless death.

     I witness myself devoid of simple comprehension and with few of my previous physical attributes. My days are of few numbers.  And I ask: How foolish is a man that claims to be prudent yet awash with regrets and refused to travel the “road less traveled” and foolishly never knew himself.  While it is I, that is such a man. How sad is it for a man to suddenly reach the end of his journey and wonder, “what could have been,” such as it is, gnaws at my mind like an old dog gnaws on a bone.  I suppose no man truly respects himself or if he did, he wouldn’t disrespect the light of time and doltishly engage in activities which bring undue harm to his well-being. Now I do not profess to be sane or to be squarely in control of much of my mental desires. My eyes do not see what I think they see. I no longer waste energy in a futile effort to bargain with illness, nor do I deceive clever ways to trick it. Nonetheless, night after night, I curse the heart of illness a thousand times before the sun rises without a response.    

     As a victim, I ask why should there be so much physical and emotional suffering before a man feels the benevolent hands of death. The hands of illness are callous, so much so that it dismisses its subject’s prayers and humble pleas and simply overpowers various medicines and care takers who attempt to vanquish its soul.  Illness cares not for the young and innocent nor the old and wretched. It slings it harrowing pain equally, no matter the host, and in many degrees of infliction. 

     Many times I struggle to open the door to my soul and allow death to enter as it choses; however, illness refuses to unlock the door and I know not how to unlock it. I need death to come and have a conversation with illness, an inverse colleague. Illness and suffering have been living in my body much too long, and I may add, without an invitation.  I have been a hostage much too long and it is with all my energy that I request death set me free as the wind. My pain renders me to the bowels of helplessness. And there are times when an illness stench is fouler than a vulture’s dinner.

     Yes it is true; I do not know what lies beyond death. But neither do I fear death in itself; but like most men of faith, I do fear what I know not and what lies into my journey. And I pray you [death] to be noble and ethical and relieve me of my pain, and do it with God’s speed and with the gentleness of an angel’s arm. Oh mighty death, come to me tonight, early or late, but come to me, come to me.

written by Clifton A. Casteel, 2012