The Buried Life
Top 5 Regrets From Dying People —-
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve
weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
By Bronnie Ware
My grandfather passed away last month. It was the closest look at death I've ever had, and it really sunk in hard. Thankfully I was able to be to spend a few days with him just before he passed. From the time he was placed into hospice care to the day he died, he was constantly surrounded by friends and family. My mother and sister were able to drive downstate and spend a few days with him. My father flew in from Vancouver, and drove up from St. Louis, and spent a few days with him as well. His wifes family was around him at all times, as were life long friends. The times that he was concious it was mostly about reliving the good memories. I could tell that when it came time for my father and I to say our final goodbye, there was some underlying regrets. While he lived a full passionate life, some consequences of it were what he left behind. The time that he did not spend with his children weighed heavily on him, that much was obvious, but I feel that in the end he was truly acceptant of his life and he was ready to move on to whatever was next. He knew that his son (my father) loved him, that his grand children loved him, and that his great grand children loved him. He knew he left enduring legacies with us, and I think in the end that is all that any man could really ever ask for out of life.
When facing the end, don't dwell on the things you did wrong. Dwell on the things you did right, rejoice in them, because that is what truly matters.
My grandpa had no regrets when he died in January, other than he probably wanted to vote against Obama this year. He was 98. When he was 93 or so, his doctor told him he had a heart problem and should start taking it easy. I went to visit him and he was out in his tractor, knocking trees down and then hauling some of the pieces to the woodpile for the fireplace. I asked him "Aren't you supposed to be taking it easy?". He said "I'm telling you what I told that cardiologist: I've outlived my siblings, my wife, two of my children and one grandchild. If I drop dead of a heart attack tomorrow, no one should grieve for me because I've had a good life".
My sister was there when he was in hospice (I was Grandma's favorite, she was Grandpa's favorite)-she said that my uncle called a female priest from his episcopalian church and she went to visit him. She asked him if he wanted her to pray with him and he totally flipped out and started shaking his head and moving around. He didn't really object to female pastors or priests, he just never liked this one (my sister said she was really flaky).
Sorry, but the dead vote for Obama. :evil-grin:
Originally Posted by noonwitch
Originally Posted by Odysseus
My Grandpa cast two ballots in every election from 2000-2007. Grandma went to the nursing home in 2000 and he cast her absentee ballots for her, always for the republican candidates. Even though she was a swing voter (voted for Reagan and for Clinton).