Don’t let love be lost…

Answer by Jae Won Joh:

Dear questioner,

I have walked this path before. I am tremendously sorry you are suffering through this, but hope my words can be of use to you.

Like many countless human beings before us both, I, too, have battled with the Demon of Doubt that terrorizes us all when we are faced with something so horrible as a death from cancer. The demon taunts like a bully and torments like a poltergeist, cruelly teasing us that surely, somewhere, someone…must have a cure. How can there not be? In this miraculous age of modern medicine? In a world of over 6 billion people? How can someone not have the answer?

What you must know is that this same demon has existed for an eternity, lying dormant in every mind, waiting for a moment of weakness in which to pounce and torture you with the same questions it has employed for millennia: “Do you not love this person? Then why aren’t you looking harder? WHY? DO YOU NOT CARE?!”

Every time you listen, the demon shouts louder. Every time you give in and whimper, the demon grows stronger. With each thorny seed of guilt the demon plants in your mind, it becomes more difficult to ignore him.

It is tempting to battle with the demon. To search for an answer, to put forth efforts that justify your love, something you can use as a spear against the demon and scream, “LOOK AT ME! I CARE! I FUCKING CARE! DO YOU NOT SEE HOW MUCH I CARE?!

The demon will simply rebuke you mockingly, saying, “…oh really? Look what good your actions did: nothing. How worthless you are, useless at everything…what a shame…”

Each day, you might fight harder, and each day, you may scream your battle cry at the demon, but each day, you will receive the same rebuttal. But then one day, when you scream your battle cry, the demon will remain quiet. And you may think you have won.

But this is the day your loved one passes away. And it is only then that you understand yourself to be the fool.

You see, the demon’s words are but a feint, designed to trick you into thinking your internet searches will reveal a diamond in the rough. This distraction allows for the demon’s true goal to come true: to take you away from your loved one as much as possible, and feast upon your regretful despair when you realize all the time you spent doing pointless things could have been spent at your mother’s side, speaking to her, getting her water, comforting her through her pain. You realize that every moment you spent looking for a miracle that doesn’t exist could have been spent creating another precious memory…and you realize the demon has ultimately won.

Ah, that pain. I wish I could relate to you in words the crushing agony of it. To sit miserable next to a coffin, weeping as the demon sits next to you devouring the immeasurable misery it wrought.

Learn from me, questioner. Learn from my mistakes. Do not battle with the demon. Shun him. Ignore him. Do not give in to his wiles and fall for his feint. Sign off from Facebook/Quora/etc, go to your mother, and help her smile. She does not need you on the internet. She needs you at her side. Your presence alone will mean worlds to her. And sooner or later, when death comes for her, as it must for all of us, perhaps you will live with less regret than I.

Can I use the internet to save my mom, who suffers from Stage IV cancer?