If I wanted, I could never feel anything again. If I wanted, there are a hundred different ways to shutdown, to shut out, to numb myself beyond all care. Yet I do not want this. I choose pain. Pain means lucidity. Pain means you can think, that beneath the torment you are still in control. Every dull ache or sharp stab of white-hot pain means my body still fights. Could I spend my final months or years in a medicated haze, pretending that I’m not rotting inside? I could. I won’t. I would rather experience every moment of agony with the acute clarity of the dying than relinquish even a moment of control. My lover chooses to drown his sorrows in whatever cocktail of liquor and opiates works best that day, but not me. I choose awareness. I choose pain. I choose to face the end without flinching.