Nurse Reveals The Top 5 Regrets People Make On Their Deathbed

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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 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.

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