It seems whenever someone famous dies the news starts with “Celebrity Xyz today lost their brave battle with [insert illness here]”.
Jessica was quite annoyed by this phrase.
Firstly she didn’t like being labeled “brave” simply because she was coping with a life threatening illness that she had no choice in. Once or twice I teased her about being brave but I quickly stopped when a councilor called me brave one day – then I knew how uncomfortable that word made me feel. Jessica rightfully teased me back, but only once.
However this wasn’t the worst word – mostly she detested the use of the word “battle”, because it implies that anyone who succumbs to an illness is a “loser” or “failure”.
Today is exactly 6 months since Jessica died and it was only yesterday on what would have been our first wedding anniversary that I found the appropriate word.
It wasn’t bravery she displayed, it was something more important than that under the circumstances, she faced her illness and lived her life with dignity.
I want to say that again in the hope the word catches on…
UPDATE: 26th December 2008
A couple of famous people died from cancer over the last 2 days, namely Eartha Kitt and Harold Pinter. Listening to the reports on radio and reading them on various online news sites I was pleased that none of the articles I encountered used the phrase above. Eartha died from cancer, Harold has died. I’d like to think the contributions here had some effect – thank you to everyone that commented and to the Journalists who contacted me to say they would change the way the report death from now on.
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