Thinking about that is complex for me, because, as far as I knew, my dad didn't think that he wasn’t going to survive his cancer diagnosis, and so the things that I'm guessing typically come up in those one-more-conversation type of exchanges weren't on the table for us to talk about when he was sick. We didn't talk about end-of-life kinds of things during the ten weeks we had after his diagnosis; honestly, I don't know that any of us could have withstood that type of emotional wrenching, including my dad. He knew that we loved him, and we knew that he loved us, and I think we thought there was still time to talk about everything else.
Part of me wonders now if we should have been straight up with him about what was going on medically; after all, he was an adult and maybe it was underestimating him or overprotecting him to keep that information from him. He knew his diagnosis, but he didn't know the prognosis. The bottom line, though, is that my family and I did what we truly believed was in Dad's best interests at the time, given what we knew and the resources we had. We didn't LIE to him, but we did skirt around the truth about his prognosis and the severity of his illness on the few occasions he asked us about it, when he said things like "What if the chemo doesn't work?" and then we said things like, "It will, Dad! We just have to get through it." He asked one of his doctors a few times about the usual prognosis of someone with his same diagnosis, and they told him the truth, but all of us, Dad included, discounted what they said because Dad wasn't "usual" - he was extraordinary. Towards the end, he asked me a few questions like, "What's it like to die?" and "Do you think it’s cold in heaven?" (he hated to be cold), and I am so very glad that I answered him truthfully then. Most of the things I said to him though, when I realized how very limited our time together was going to be were part of a one-sided conversation - when he couldn't talk back, and when I'm wasn't sure he heard me. Looking back, I think it would have been so hard for us to say goodbye to him and then to have him say it back; the pain and sorrow that I see on his face when I picture this scene in my mind are heartbreaking, sending a stream of tears down my face, and that's when the vision is only in my imagination. I think Dad might have viewed his own farewell message as quitting, and I am glad he was spared that, at least.