1.2.6 Encounters with death
Although we each die only once, there may be many a brush with death throughout the course of a person’s life. The experience of having been close to death can have a major impact on the way in which a person continues living. For Elaine, the awareness that she might be about to die has affected the way she lives now that her prognosis is good. She describes herself as prepared for death and impatient of those who are not. She also has difficulty entering fully back into life.
I think it’s important to be prepared for death …I can only agree with Hamlet, the readiness is all… When I found out the prognosis was good I found it very hard to lift the veil that had descended between me and life. I think if you are dying … you withdraw from life necessarily because it’s too painful otherwise and so although you’re in life you’re not of life and whole areas of existence cease to have an interest for you because you think you haven’t got a future … I definitely felt as if I’d moved on to the hard shoulder of life as it were …I have gone back into life, very much so with my child … [but] sometimes when I’m with other people I think ‘I don’t want to talk about that, it’s trivia’.
For a different kind of person there might be a very different response. Here are just a few examples.