A friend on Goodreads told me about a book. “The Last Friend” by Tahar Ben Jelloun.
The main character is hiding the fact he is dying from a close friend.
I am a doctor, so my patients occasionally die. They die of cancer, heart disease, old age. Rarely, they kill themselves. The synopsis of the book made me think about secrets. Do we have a right of keeping important things secret from our close friends?
I remember the time when I told none of my close friends that my marriage was breaking up. I only told people about my divorce after it happened
In my opinion, this is very complex. One of my best friends is a firm believer in the “right to die”. His father, a doctor, killed himself with the help of the “assisted dying service “when he was suffering from terminal cancer. My friend was there, holding his hand.
The same friend asked me to tell him if I thought he was getting demented, so that he could kill himself. I said I could not do it, I would feel responsible for his death.
I had a time in my life when I was feeling suicidal. I knew I was not going to act on it, my suicide would hurt a lot of people. But the lyrics by Madness ” … and the dreams where I was dying were the best dreams I ever had…” resonated with me…
Would I tell somebody that I was planning to kill myself? Probably not, they would feel responsible for not stopping me.
But I think it is different when you know you are dying of an incurable illness. I think I would tell my close friends and relatives- it would give them time to get used to it and say good bye.
So I would like to know what other people think. We all sometimes lie by omission. Sometimes it is not to hurt other people, sometimes it is not to hurt ourselves…
What would YOU do if you knew you were going to die soon? Tell people? Keep it a secret? I am not sure what I would do…