It was one of those discussions that wasn't planned. It was with a colleague who has a relative, as she said, on death's doorstep.
The conversation started with finding out about how an ill family member was doing and it led to some interesting food for thought.
Bottom line: how would you react if you were, essentially, given a death sentence from a doctor? That is to say that a medical professional tells you, "You only have months to live."
Are you going to be depressed? Are you going to be miserable? Are you going to be carefree?
We threw out a bunch of questions that got each of us thinking. On the surface you imagine people would be devastated. Those who are truly optimistic might try to forget about the prognosis and make the most of the time they have left.
But is it a time when you start to have regrets about your life? Is it one of those moments when you think you should have taken more chances in life? Should you have done things differently?
The colleague mentioned her relative was spending many nights alone in hospital which is prime time for thinking -- or overthinking.
I have visited lots of people in the hospital and while I know they are dying I certainly haven't engaged in any death-related dialogue with them because as the visitor you are trying to cheer up or share some final happy moments with the patient.
Though I have never heard any stories of a patient saying, "You know what, I regret so much in my life."
I don't know if it is because I was visiting positive people or if as a dying patient something switches in your brain and you just start to change your outlook. I really don't know.
I would love to hear about your thoughts and experiences on this subject.