After a medical examination, your doctor calls and gravely says you have a rare lymphatic cancer and only a few months to live. Five days later, she informs you that the lab tests were mislabeled; you are perfectly healthy. Forced for a moment to look death in the face, you have been allowed to turn and go on. During those difficult days you would certainly have gained some insights about yourself. Do you think they would be worth the pain?
I’m not sure I would consider those few days to be painful. I would think it a gift to be faced with one’s own mortality. We all know that we’re going to die someday, yet we live our lives as if we’re immortal. Maybe it’s not that we feel immortal, but we fear that mortality and overcompensate by pretending that nothing can hurt us. But when you know for certain that the end of this life isn’t far away, that fear can be taken away. Sure it would be easy to slip into a funk and just stay depressed about dying. But what’s the point of that? You’ve just got a little bit of time left. Why not live it up? Guess that’s something to really think about though, since none of us knows when that moment will really come.
*The Question of the Week can be found in The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.