For purposes of this discussion, I shall define the term “truly, deeply love” as meaning “be willing to give that person a desperately-needed organ transplant even after the doctors say that the odds of you surviving this operation are, at best, 10%, and that’s assuming Jesus, Buddha, AND Superman are all on your side, and even though you and the recipient have been arguing for days and they still won’t admit to being wrong.”
Only living persons, please.
For me, the answer is six: my wife, my stepdaughter, my favorite niece, my favorite sister, my best friend from college, and my father.
ETA: on further thought, 5 and a half. It kinda varies with my dad.
My wife, my son . . . maybe my best friend. So 3 at best, but definitely 2. But that’s because your conditions are pretty extreme. I have several friends whom I really, really like and care for, and my siblings are ok sometimes I guess.
I can say I truly, deeply love my dad, and I’ll be willing to do a lot for him, but I think your conditions are a bit harsh. At the risk of sounding cruel, he is, um, kind of old. It would not be logical for me to undergo an operation that I most likely will not survive so that he can live. I’d do it if the odds are different, however, say if there’s a 10% chance that I’ll die instead of 10% chance that I’ll live.
I can say that I truly, deeply love two people in the world (my brother and my best friend K), but the only one I would consider basically giving my life for would be my brother.
He is my best friend in the world; he always, always has my back. He spends his time cracking jokes and making me laugh, because he knows it makes me happy and brightens my day a little. I love him more than anyone else I’ve ever known or probably will ever know. I feel like he is such a big part of me, and I don’t know what I would ever do without him. So, yes, I believe if it came to that, I would risk my life for him because I wouldn’t want to live without him in my life.
10% chance of my survival? My daughter. That’s it.
Raise that up to 25%, and you can add my dad. He’d have made the original cut, if I weren’t just a tiny bit afraid of an afterlife where he’d kick my ass forever for doing such a stupid thing.
Raise it up to 50%, and you can add my best friend and her kids, up to 75%, add her husband, and maybe even her sister and mom (I like them better than my sister and mom, anyway). You can also add my boyfriend to that range. Love him, but I haven’t known him nearly as long as everyone else I’d consider this for.
The caveat with my mom, however, is that she would very, very much not want me to do it. And dying is easy; living with guilt is hard. I would hew to her wishes on that, whatever they might be, and no matter how badly I might want her to stay around.
My brother comes close to making the cut, but he’s my half-brother, and we didn’t grow up together. One other friend also comes very close to it.
So, deeply and truly loving someone = an essentially suicidal transplant. I had no idea the bar was that high.
I doubt I’d do it for my wife, under these rather absurd conditions. She wouldn’t want me to, and I don’t think she’s any more favorably disposed to living without me than I am to living without her. So, the bitch has to die and leave me alone.