We mustn’t hide our wishes

Daisuke F | Physician |

There are wishes that every single person wants to attain – such as happiness, love, and peace, while there are wishes that are interesting for somebody but not for everybody – such as reputation, promotion or money.

Same can be said about the wishes that people have when they have a serious illness. There are some studies on things that people wish to have when they become very sick. The study shows that some of the wishes are common among almost all the patients, while there are wishes that are specific to some people but not to everybody.

Most people wish to have “physical and mental comfort”, “good relationship with family and medical staff,” and “being respected as an individual, and “maintaining hope and pleasure”, when they have got very sick. However, there are other wishes which may look very natural to some of you, but not to other people. The following are some examples: while many people wish to “fight the illness as much as I can”, some people consider illness as a part of their natural life and try to accept it and live with it. Some people consider religion is an integral part in coping with serious illnesses, while other people do not think so.

You should not expect that your wishes are obvious to everybody, even to your doctor or to your loved ones. They may understand very well part of your wishes, but they are not necessarily familiar with all of your wishes. This is especially true when it comes to sensitive topics such as life and death, or decisions that may relate to it. The key message is that you should clearly tell your wish to your loving ones, so that they can work with you to effectively reach what you wish for.


  1. Having recently lost a number of close relatives to cancer, and being with them through their diagnosis, treatment and death, I have observed that those who most clearly know what they want, and then ask for it seem to have better lives while living with their disease. Some were very clear about what they wanted to happen, both during their living time, and after they died. These people were able to truly live until the day they couldn’t anymore. They were present for themselves and for all of us who loved them. One told me that the year of her illness was one of the “best years of her life”. She requested visits from those she loved, and even attended her own “wake” just a few days before she died. Everyone was stopping by to see her; her entire family was there; there was a lot of delicious food delivered by friends and neighbors, and it was like a party for her. She said, “Here I am being waked, and I get to be here to see everybody. I even get to eat the food!” What a lady! She lived as she wished!

    Carol Jamison | | 4:52pm

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