Not a warrior nor a princess

by Hilla Duka


Since I found out about the cancer, I joined a couple of groups on Facebook about breast cancer/ chronic cancer. Way too often, someone posts that another member has “lost the battle” or that “heaven has a new warrior princess” or something like that. Of course, I get sad that another woman has been lost to this absolutely horrible disease, but more and more, I find that the terminology offends me.


Do me a favor - when I die, don’t refer to me as a warrior princess, or a warrior at all. I’m not fighting for any ideal, and I’ve not been given the choice to fight or refer from it. Soldiers, warriors, fight for something. They are willing to lay down their lives, in order to achieve change. I never had that choice, and I’m not fighting for a grand ideal, I’m just doing the best I can to have more of my life. I am not a warrior, I am not at war with my body - I am trying my absolutely best to help my body get rid of a disease, just like it would if I got the flu. And in this life, if the measure of success is cheating death, then we’re all failing. I am just trying to have the best kind of life for as long as I possibly can.


When I die, don’t say that I’ve “lost the battle”. In fact, in no way at all refer to this as a war, because it’s not. If this life of ours was a war with the only measure of success staying alive, then we’re all losing. At one point, each and every one of us will die, that’s the order of life. And we can hope and pray that we have a good life and a long life and a clean death, but that’s about it. I hate that I have cancer, but I don’t think that cancer is my enemy. Cancer is my body’s misplaced attempt to correct something, an infection, that was going on inside me. It’s rotten luck. Cancer is not the enemy, because there is no thought or consciousness within it. It’s a horrible disease, that’s what it is. I’m not at war with anyone, and cancer is not an evil person. People who use these terms have a very loose grasp of the ugliness of war, the vastness of evil.


I made my brother promise that when I die he would punch anyone calling me a warrior princess or something to that extent in the face - that’s not how I want people to think of me or refer to me. Want to know what I am? I am a mother and a daughter and a sister and a wife, and most of all I am a person - one who loves her life and wants it for as long as possible. That’s all, and it’s enough.


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