The story “A Desire for Life” highlights the fact that strong family relationships play a vital role in an individual’s health and his or her will to go on living. People tend to want either to live in a tribe or not to live at all, and the majority of suicides and attempted suicides are a result of isolation and loneliness. Similarly, some people only survive an illness because of the presence of loving relatives.
I meet patients at the hospital where I work who want to die even though they are relatively healthy, who hope that they will not wake up after an operation or who ask me to kill them.
I meet other patients who are trying with all their strength to conquer their illness even though the doctors have told them that this is impossible, or patients trying to extend their lives by just a few weeks even though they are in terrible pain and have no hope of recovery.
Again and again I meet desperately unhappy people who are almost healthy, and people who are full of the joys of life and yet are close to death. The difference between them is that those in the first group have no one caring for them, whereas those in the second group have partners, children, grandchildren and friends who care for them with love and affection. A desire for life is a desire to live for someone else.