What comes next

​One of my patients had a major event, and very nearly died. It was very touch and go, and after several months, she is finally on the path to recovery, and I was a little surprised that she pulled through, because of all of my patients, she is the most accepting of death. She's been a widow for years, and we frequently have talked about how she is ready to go. So I was surprised to see her clinging to life with such tenacity. She is not going without a fight, the person I had thought to be the most eager to have her ticket punched. 

Life is funny sometimes like that. On the news sometimes, you see people ready to commit suicide, and at the very moment they are ready to leap, they grab onto the edge desperately. There's a line in "Crime & Punishment" by Dostoevsky where he says:
... where was it that I read of how a condemned man, just before he died, said, or thought, that if he had to live on some high crag, on a ledge so small that there was no more than room for his two feet, with all about him the abyss, the ocean, eternal night, eternal solitude, eternal storm, and there he must remain, on a hand's-breadth of ground, all his life, a thousand years, through all eternity - it would be better to live so, than die within the hour? Only to lie, to live!
I don't know what comes in the next life, but I don't have much expectation for what remains for me in this one. Maybe I will have a different perspective when I am in my eighties, but if I look at my life honestly, I am already coasting in neutral. I really wonder if when my time comes, will I also grab onto the edge?

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