Sunday, 3 April 2016

With All Your Might

This week I read in the paper about a minor celebrity who had died. As usual, we were told that this had happened after a long "battle" against some hateful disease.

The regular use of fighting words in the context of death after a long illness always makes me uncomfortable. It implies that it is dishonourable to feel weak and tired when you are ill. You should be raising banners and actively wielding cudgels, it suggests, at a time when you are at your most feeble.

I prefer the phrase I saw used about someone in the Telegraph obituary column a couple of weeks ago. The person in question, we were informed, had died:

"... after a long illness, bravely borne."

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