On Wednesday, September 27th, Ken Chung, a 39 year old academic Philosopher died of Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer. Diagnosed in March 2016, Ken blogged about his experience up until his very last days, providing a unique and important perspective on what it means to both live and die. Ken wrote with exceptional clarity about his experience; he shared his hopes, his fears, about the randomness of getting sick, and mostly, how fortunate he was to do good deeds, spend time with his family, and to live the life he had.
Ken wrote his own memoriam: “Ken Chung died on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, eighteen months after being diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. He wished he had more time to think, to write, to read, to figure out what life was all about. But mostly he wanted to more time to spend with his wonderful wife, Emma Abman, and to hang out with his family and friends. He considered himself to be, on the whole, a lucky man. He was 39 years old.”
Ken’s final blog, written one week before his passing, discusses the nature of a struggle. Ken writes that in life, struggling is typically accompanied by some possibility of success which makes all of the struggling, all of the failure, worth it. Ken notes with terminal cancer, it is different; there is no possibility of success. Ken finishes the article by writing about his own struggle with cancer:
“So this is a struggle without a reward. Is this why I find it so f*king hard?
I know, though, that the struggle itself is not all dark. It’s still up to me to make an extra effort to enjoy what I can — to take an extra second to enjoy my coffee, to taste the sweet freshness in the fruits I can still eat, to cherish the warmth of friends and family, to write a word here and there.”
Life is too short.