Friday, January 13, 2012

Nurses Reveal Top Five Regrets People Have On Their Death Bed

Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets
people make on their deathbed
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 realize
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
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
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
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

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