I’m curious how y’all feel about sharing a death sentence diagnosis, with the people around you.
Clearly there would be different factors, that could come into play; dying in 3 wks, 3mnths, 3 yrs? Will your illness produce physical decline? Rapid? Mental decline? Decision making ability? I’d like to try and leave these out of the equation, though I know they are definite factors in any such decisions.
Having to share such dark news, with your wife, your children, etc, is incredibly difficult. You are going to crush the people you love. Yes, you’ll get support and empathy, sympathy, even pity perhaps.
If there is nothing that can change the outcome, (it’s coming for you regardless), and assuming you do take the time to get your affairs in order, how obligated do you feel to share this news?
How hurt would you be if another just couldn’t bring themselves to share such news with you, until the bitter end. Could you understand if they just wanted to maximize the normalcy or would you feel completely betrayed?
(I’m not sure I’d choose to share with everyone, but probably my spouse! On the other hand, I now attend all his Dr’s appt’s as I know, from discussions, he’d not tell me, so as not to upset me. My personal feeling is that’s it’s such a personal thing that it’s wrong to judge someone for such a thing. But that’s just me!)
I’ve seen my share of terminal illness (physician myself, and saw both of my parents slowly die from illness). I would definitely tell the people I felt close to (or anyone who it would affect in a significant way) as soon as I knew that there was no hope.
With most terminal illness, it will be painfully clear that something isn’t right before the very end comes, so I would want them to understand it. Sometimes not knowing what’s going on is even worse than knowing an unpleasant truth. My loved ones deserve to have time to accept the news before I’m gone, time to say the things they need to say, etc.
Another sad reality of terminal illness is that you’d be surprised at the people who will actually just disappear out of your life at times like that. It’s like they are so afraid of death or so unable to cope with the emotions around death that they can’t stand to be around someone who is dying. I think it’s awful, but it happens quite often unfortunately. I’d want to know who those people are before I finalize my will.
Trying to enjoy life’s normal pleasures while you can doesn’t mean that you have to pretend the illness isn’t there. When my mom was dying of cancer, she still had a pretty normal life (even traveled a bit!) until the last few weeks before she died. There’s no good way to die, really, but I think facing it honestly is better than denying it’s happening.