Most people diagnosed with a life threatening illness think about suicide. Suicidal thoughts are normal thoughts in someone who has been told they can’t be fixed. We think about it in the months before gradual death. Generally, during the time after we’ve received the limited prognosis.
The suicidal thoughts are really more about being afraid of what the coming months will hold. We are actually more afraid of the experience leading up to death than death itself. The thought is, “if I am going to die soon then let’s just skip over the dying part, that really scares me, and let me be dead.”
As time and the disease progress, thoughts of suicide begin to dim. In the weeks before gradual death we generally reach a place of not caring so much about this world, this life. We just don’t have the energy to worry, to even think. At this point we don’t have the energy to kill ourselves, to accomplish the act.
Look to the person’s personality, to how they have dealt with other challenges in their life. I think it takes a great deal of courage to kill yourself, even more to live until you die. While most people will think about suicide, some more than others, few actually do it. It helps to talk about the thoughts, the fears, during this final experience in life. No topic needs to be considered taboo.