Longtime football coach and UT icon Darrell K. Royal died awhile back at age 88.  He died from complications due to cardiovascular disease and was dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.

In an editorial, the Austin American Statesman said about Royal’s disease and death that, “It was not right and it was not fair.”

Now, I do understand anger and support one’s right to get really mad when life hands us something we decide is awful. However, once our feelings are explored and expressed, what is the best long term way to respond to life’s dilemmas?

I support research dealing with the management and elimination of Alzheimer’s disease (and cardiovascular disease for that matter), but how does “rightness” and “fairness” fit into our response to disease? We don’t arrive in these lives with any sort of guarantee or predetermined plan (or for Calvinists, at least no one ever tells us the plan in advance). To quote an overused phrase: It is what it is.

That brings up another issue I have with language. Why do people “fight” cancer with all their energy and hopes. We are always reading, “He put up a valiant fight against cancer.” One could take a more gentle approach and see illness has an opportunity or at the least as simply an event in our lives. Why not say, “Yesterday it rained, today I had a heart attack. Regardless my life goes on and I can love every moment.”Healer

I made a film that touches this issue. It’s called “Healer” and it explores alternative ways of looking at life and disease. It’s fiction so don’t try to make it apply to reality. Also, I apologize as it’s not a freebie unless you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, but it’s worth the $1.99 rental fee. Find it at http://tinyurl.com/cxhxzw8

A classic take on the fairness of it all is this book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” by Harold Kushner.


Austin American Statesman (Editorial), For Coach, let’s take on Alzheimer’s. Tuesday, November 13, 2012, page A8.

Flores, D. UT legend Royal was always ‘Coach’ to former Longhorns. KENS5.com, November 13, 2012, http://www.kens5.com/news/Texas-legend-Royal-was-always-Coach-to-former-Longhorns-great-Nobis-179059891.html.

Join us for a real-time discussion about questions raised by this essay on Wednesday from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. See Discussion and SL tabs above for details. Link to the virtual meeting room: http://tinyurl.com/cjfx9ag.