Alan Foster
Jun 17, 2016 · 2 min read

I am terminal — I just don’t know it yet.

In twenty years, I will be diagnosed with inoperable bone cancer.

It won’t be my fault,

Nothing I could have done would have prevented my fate,

But it will kill me all the same.

Six months after my diagnosis, I will take my last, labored breath.

Doctors will talk to me with serious, professional faces about quality of life,

And having a plan.

I will make a living will,

Discussing with my family the way to deal most gracefully with the most ungraceful of acts.

When I die, my wife and children will be by my side.

We will have said a thousand goodbyes,

In a thousand different ways,

Acknowledging the finality of every act as it passes,

Until the last goodbye.

A kiss on my cheek,

As I drift away,

My battle fought, and lost.


I am terminal — I just don’t know it yet.

In ten years, I will fall victim to screeching tires and twisted metal.

It won’t be my fault,

Nothing I could have done would have prevented my fate,

But it will kill me all the same.

Six minutes after the initial impact, I will take my last, labored breath.

Doctors will talk to my family with serious, professional faces about blunt force trauma, and force equaling mass times acceleration.

I did not have a plan,

I did not make a will,

Tomorrow, tomorrow being my constant refrain.

I will not get to tell anyone goodbye,

No one will get to tell me how much they loved me,

I will never appreciate the last time I do anything,

Taking the ability to engage in each act for granted.

I get no last kiss.

My battle is fought, and lost.


I am terminal, I just don’t know it yet.

Tomorrow, I will be walking down the street and a stray bullet meant for another stranger will find its way into me.

It won’t be my fault.

Nothing I could have done would have prevented my fate,

But it will kill me all the same.

It will be over instantly.

I won’t even have time to register the pop that follows the bang.

My world will simply go black.

And that will be that.


I am terminal — I just don’t know it yet.


The Bigger Picture

Oddly specific. Universally applicable. Submit your writing to biggerpicturemedium@gmail.com.

Alan Foster

Written by

Father, Husband, and ‘Teacher’ trying and failing, to not take life too seriously. Visit www.thealanfoster.com to get updates about longer works.

The Bigger Picture

Oddly specific. Universally applicable. Submit your writing to biggerpicturemedium@gmail.com.

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