Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed

clasped hands

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 realise 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.

Credits: This article first appeared on inspirationandchai.com via Real Farmacy

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The Empty Life – Guest Blog from “Roger’s Reflections”

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” – Ecclesiastes 1v2
The big names always grab the headlines – Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger, Janis Joplin, and Marilyn Monroe. When you read those names you know the connection immediately. Each of these young adults, who apparently had everything, died early tragic deaths. Each of them died in what were, at best, tragic circumstances. We don’t really have to say much more.
Then there are names like ‘AG.’ ‘Who is that?’ you might ask? AG was one of the thousands of ‘unknowns’ who die in the same way. It is more personal for me when it comes to AG. He was my literacy student who, on a Saturday night a few months ago, jumped into a reservoir and drowned. Life, at 18, had just become too much to bear. The benefits of death, in his mind at least, outweighed the benefits of living. There was nothing worth living for.
Though all of these people had their lives ahead of them, they either took their own lives or put themselves in such a setting that their lives were under threat. They had lives, which at least for that moment in time, seemed so empty that they were not worth living.
Solomon could identify with these folks. ‘Vanity of vanities’ he wrote, ‘all is vanity.’ Or, to make it a little clearer, ‘Emptiness of emptiness, all is emptiness.’
In this amazing little book we have a record of Solomon’s attempt to find something to fill the emptiness.

He is going to give is the answer. Stick around.

Rog  Rogers Reflections

You can’t take it with you!

A man, told his wife, “When I die, I want all my money put it my casket. I wanna take my money with me.”

She promised she would.

The man died and at the funeral, her friend said, “I hope you weren’t crazy enough to put all that money in the casket.”

“I sure did,” the wife said.

The friend, in shock, said “You mean to tell me you put every cent of his money in the casket with him?”

“I sure did,” said the wife. “I got it all together, put it into my account and I wrote him a check!!”

Famous deaths, funny quotes

“It’s funny how most people love the dead, once you’re dead your made for life.”  Jimi Hendrix.

Am I dying or is this my birthday?
When she woke briefly during her last illness and found all her family around her bedside.     ~~ Lady Nancy Astor, d. 1964

“The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing.”
– Dizzy Dean
explaining how he felt after being hit on the head by a ball in the 1934 World Series.

I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.
~~ Humphrey Bogart, actor, d. January 14, 1957

Too late for fruit, too soon for flowers.
~~ Walter De La Mare, writer, d. 1956

Thought for the Day, July 26, 2011: If God had a sense of humor Amy Winehouse would be rooming with Betty Ford.

The Forever 27 Club Musicians Who Died at Age 27