First Advisor

Franco, Marie-Dominique

Second Advisor

McCall, Rona


Regis College

Degree Name



Regis College Senior Honors Program

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

69 pages


The revelation that one has mere months left to live has the potential to be completely earth shattering to an individual's understanding of his identity. Nearly every facet of his being must be reevaluated, especially his sense of personal meaning. When faced with the reality of his mortality, man often expedites and prioritizes his journey for meaning, continuously adding nuances to this concept of meaning, which are derived from his experiences with the illness. While universally complex, the process of meaning-making in individuals with a terminal or life-threatening illness in particular is a pilgrimage that is unique and significant because of the wealth of differing ways through which individuals strive to attain meaning. In this thesis, the many possible ways of deriving meaning from life were limited to four core paradigms: fear, disregard, service, and spirituality. Each of these distinct models were analyzed via a case study that effectively exemplified the paradigm in action; from this analysis, I attempted to extract whether some paradigms were objectively "better" than others. Additionally, I sought to determine "how we ought to die" with a terminal illness .

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

All content in this Collection is owned by and subject to the exclusive control of Regis University and the authors of the materials. It is available only for research purposes and may not be used in violation of copyright laws or for unlawful purposes. The materials may not be downloaded in whole or in part without permission of the copyright holder or as otherwise authorized in the “fair use” standards of the U.S. copyright laws and regulations.