Just over a week ago I sat with a friend in McDonalds having a coffee together. He shocked me with the news that he had cancer of the liver and was given five to eleven months to live. He appeared to be coming to terms with it and even talked about his funeral. I wondered how I would be in those circumstances.

Two days later he was in hospital. His cancer had spread considerably. He was given four to six weeks to live. It is now ten days after our coffee together and I plan to visit him in hospital today. He now has a matter of days. The speed at which this has all taken place is mind-blowing. The family must find it unbelievable and hard to grasp.

The reality is that none of us, either as individuals or families, is immune to such a devastating event. It could happen to anyone of us. The question that comes to mind is, “How do we deal with it, if such a thing suddenly came upon us?” I think it is impossible to say how we would react. The event is not before us and at this moment we don’t have to deal with it. But it certainly causes us to face other related issues.

What would we do if this was our last week? Have we said all the things we would like to say to our spouse and friends? Have we put things right which should never have caused division in the first place? Have we done the things we have always wanted to do to show we cared? Will we leave behind the remembrance of an attitude which will be missed?

At a time like this I guess it comes down to what is important. Our bank account and what we own become meaningless. The positions we have held matter little now. It is what we leave behind which will continue to make a difference. The love we have shown. The lives we have touched. This is what people will remember. It’s all very sobering but worthy of our thinking, I am sure you will agree?