Life is short, and most of us don’t get to do a fraction of the things we actually want to do. But what if you found out you were sick and had a year or less to live?
In this article, AskReddit users who are terminally ill share what’s still left on their bucket lists.
1. Climb a mountain
“I’ve probably got more than a year left in me, but with Stage IV colon cancer who knows. I’m actually in a chemo infusion right now. The only thing I honestly want is to spend every waking moment with my young children. The thought of them growing up without me, without knowing who I am, is probably the thing that weighs most heavy on my mind.
But as far as actionable list items, I need to climb a mountain again. I grew up near the Rockies and have backpacked and hiked all through the southern Rockies. I keep thinking about when I’m done with chemo seeing if I can’t bag a few of the simpler peaks nearish the Denver metro area. I’d like to start a group in Indianapolis with this or similar hikes/climbs in mind, but haven’t done so yet. I’ll look into starting this though.
Also, if anyone else in the Indy area needs anything, please DM me. I’m doing okay and would love to help someone in need out. Great thought OP!”
2. Mow the yard
“My neighbor who is 94 called me last week and said she is terminal and has about 4-8 weeks to live. Super nice lady I have always enjoyed talking to. She asked me to mow her front yard until she dies. I’m happy to help as long as it’s one less thing she has to worry about.”
3. Good one!
“My dad is currently 1 year into “6 months to 2 years” of a glioblastoma diagnosis. He has had a good life and didn’t have much on his bucket list but we are going to Key West this summer so he can enter an Ernest Hemingway look alike contest.”
4. The big picture
“I have stage 4 brain cancer. I have confidence I will beat it though. I had it 19 years ago when it was self contained, so I have a good idea what to expect. This time it is inoperable, because it is skull based, but chemo begins next week. If I don’t make it, I am content with that.
I found out who I was and what I wanted out of this life 19 years ago, and no, unless your work is really important, it will never define you. I can say that I truly lived and can die at any time without regrets and full of inner peace and happiness. I can’t tell you how important it is for all of us to take a step back, look at the big picture and find out what is really important to us. After that, life becomes very clear and the way to live it becomes even clearer.”
“I wanted to tell you all my dad has liver cancer and it has metastasized. He still feels good but at his last Dr appointment they wanted to get him started on palliative care so it’s not looking good at all.
He wants to go fishing with his only grandson… but I only had him 3 weeks ago so he’s not going to be up for fishing this year.”
“I’m 27. Systemic, metastasized, inoperable cancer of uncertain origin. Maybe a year left. Maybe a bit more depending on what treatments become available and work. Possibly less.
The only thing I really want (that I don’t have) is to be cryogenically frozen. But I don’t really expect any help or possibility of that because it’s prohibitively expensive, and selfish, and somewhat insane.
(I’d also like to be a movie star, or billionaire, or incredibly famous, or Jedi knight, if anyone could make any of those happen.)”
7. Make sure it’s taken care of
“I got sick and kept brushing it off. Ended up having congestive heart failure that I had ignored because I just thought I kept getting the crud getting passed around at work.
I was given a 50% chance to make it a year because my heart function was so low. Ive made it farther so that’s great. But when it was really iffy the only thing I wanted to was pay off my car and all the medical debt I was getting because I didn’t want my family to have to deal with it. I was super close this year. I only had $5k left on my car and paid my medical stuff off leaving just a personal loan I had to take out when I missed a ton of work and some lady hit me on the highway on my way home and totaled my car so I’ve had to start over there.
It’s been a rough couple of years but if anything I’ve made it a lot longer than expected. I know people who had way fewer and less severe issues than me that didn’t make it. Being completely honest there’s nothing crazy on my bucket list that ranks higher than making sure all my stuff is taken care of so my dad won’t have to if something happens. Having my dad in the hospital room finding out about all my heart issues and the fact that they weren’t expecting great results was probably one of the worst days of my life. I was only 26 and my dad and grandparents had a really hard time with it.”
“My son, who is 21 has an inoperable glioma on his brain stem, he does not know how long he has. Due to his illnesses (he also has juvenile diabetes), he had to quit school a few years back and has no friends now. We live in mid Michigan, an hour outside of Grand rapids, he is a big-time gamer. But because his illnesses affect his socializing, and no driver’s license, he can’t get out with friends, and/or develop friendships. His schedule consists of at least weekly Dr visits, that’s it.
Idk what I’m actually asking, I just wish he had a person or two who would like to hang out, he’s funny, and acts more like a 16 yr old. 🙂 I just wish my son had a friend in real life. That’s all. Kind of a hard request. Love you guys.”
9. Quality time
“My fiancé was diagnosed with an inoperable Glioblastoma, Grade IV in February. We are looking at maybe two years, but are hopeful that it can be prolonged with clinical trials. He has thought long and hard about his bucket list and always comes back to just wanting to spend as much quality time with me and his twin sons as long as possible.”
10. Not asking for much
“I have MDS which is a form of cancer affecting the bone marrow and blood cell production. If left untreated, in my case, it is fatal in less than 18 months. The bone marrow transplant procedure itself is has a 20% fatality rate, (!!!) but I am preparing for it this fall.
Due to missed work, because of the frequency of doctor’s appointments, I’m in danger of losing my job, am behind on every bill and rent is always a concern.
The point being that money is extremely tight and must be prioritized to the penny. I’m not asking for money or other help, but I would very much like to read these two books:
Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look At Making the Magic Real
Designing Disney: Imagineering and the Art of the Show
If anyone has a used copy of either one or both of them, they would care to pass on, that would be fantastic.
I will even return them when I’m finished, if you want.”
11. Loved ones
“At one point during my cancer treatment a few years back I was given 2 weeks to live. My bucket list just consisted of seeing loved ones and telling them I loved them.
Then the drugs started working, and I beat it. So I could go back to ignoring their texts.”
“My girlfriend is 20 with stage IV cancer. She’s wanted to move to the Orlando area of Florida for a long time so I am going to do it with her. But I’m worried about money. I’ve finished everything with school except for an internship (which is required) and student loans will come knocking soon. My father took out parent plus loans for me and while I’m not worried about not being able to pay the ones in my name, I know I definitely will be paying the ones he took out because I don’t want to burden him.
I need to get an internship in/near Orlando, FL for software engineering / IT to finally graduate and then get a job because my girlfriend loves to travel and I’d like to be able to afford anything she wants like trips to Italy and whatnot. I’m not worried about her not having long to live or anything; I’m very optimistic and so is she and her doctors. ? But I still want to do whatever I can to make her happy.
I’m not asking for anything, just sharing a story.”
“I have inoperable grade IV lymphoma and i have been relatively lucky with everything so far. The one thing I would change would have been for my wife to want to stay for the end, that would have been good. It’s really hard to explain your situation to someone that doesn’t have cancer. I am 32.”
14. Friends and family
“I have Stage Four Metastatic breast cancer. I was first diagnosed at 33 and a couple years later, I was told it was back and it had spread. It is now in my bones, lungs, liver and in my skull. They told me I had a year and a half left but that was two and a half years ago. I’m still truckin’!
I have had an amazing life. All those bucketlist items don’t mean too much to me now; I just want to spend time with friends and family. I have learned so many lessons from this ‘adventure’. Sometimes, I can’t believe how lucky I am to be surrounded by so many good people. Cancer gave me a new perspective and I sometimes cry with happiness that I was able to live my last months in gratitude. Even a post like this, a complete stranger trying to help out a ‘termie’ touches me. So thank you, OP.
You know what I would love for someone to do for me? I would really and truly love someone out there, even if it’s just one Redditor, to do something kind for someone in my name and send me a pic or tell me what you did. The thing that is most important in my life, the one thing that means most to me, is acceptance of others.
Racism, sexism, homophobia – it all breaks my heart. My entire adult life has been dedicated to advocating for immigrants – before I became ill, I worked as an English as a Second Language teacher and as an immigration counsellor and LOVED every moment of it. It upsets me so much to see someone who has fought tooth and nail to escape persecution, arrive in Canada (or any country) and face even more adversity and discrimination, which in this current political climate is a very real issue.
I would love for anyone reading this to do something for someone who could benefit from an act of kindness, which really, is any human being and tell me about it! It would make me feel like I can still contribute something positive to the world and I know it would make me cry those happy tears I mentioned earlier. Thank you!!!!”
15. Sharks and baseball
“What I want more than anything in the world is to get better and live happily ever after with my husband, my kitten, and hopefully children someday. There is a chance I may get better if I find the right specialist and treatment. However, each day of pain I feel the life sucked out of me. I’m hoping to go cage diving with great whites. In October is my 10th anniversary so I’m hoping husband is up for that. I love sharks. I need to go to a few Red Sox baseball games too.”