We are all busy. There’s always something to distract us from getting around to certain things we know we should do. In the backs of our minds, we know we’re neglecting (not doing) something we should do. But we never get around to it. Then, something happens. A good friend or loved one drops dead suddenly. We begin to think about what our biggest regrets would be if we were suddenly sitting on our death bed.
For many years I worked as a nurse in palliative care (a medical treatment that helps patients to reduce their pain). My patients were those who had gone home to die. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. They shared some incredibly special times with me. Every single patient found their peace before they departed (died), every one of them. When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common things surfaced (appeared) again and again. Here are the most common five:
They wished they had had the courage to live a life true to themselves, 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 honored (to do what is needed for) even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
They wished they didn’t work so hard. This came from every male (men or boys) patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives working.
They wished they had had the courage to express their feelings. Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for (accepted; lived) a mediocre life and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
They wished they had stayed in touch with (talked to or visited) their 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 (find them again). Many had become so caught up (involved) in their own lives that they had forgotten their friendships 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.
They wished they had let themselves be happier. This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They were stuck in old habits. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed (wanted very much) to laugh properly.
The question is, are you going to change anything this afternoon or tomorrow? Or are you going to go back to your busy life? (4 paragraphs)0 This entry was posted in Reading Stage 2 by Parviz with no comments yet