What Will You Regret When You're About to Die?

People can express many kinds of regrets when they're about to die. Here are some of them.
What Will You Regret When You're About to Die?

Last update: 16 March, 2022

 
Perhaps one of the greatest punishments we apply to ourselves is to sacrifice the present to defend ourselves from all our fears in the future. When, in reality, the future is an assumption and the present a reality.

These words were spoken by a long-term nurse employed in palliative care. Her patients generally had a life expectancy of no more than three months.

She was with them in their final days and made them feel as good as possible, once they realized that they were about to die. “It is at that moment when people grow much more than in their entire lives”, she added.

Although some may claim it isn’t worth it, the capacity for growth at the point of no return shouldn’t be underestimated. Indeed, repentance or gratitude, at a point when every second is increasingly valuable, takes on even more value.

A young person holding the hands of an elderly person.

Some of the changes these patients experienced were truly amazing. They all felt their emotions differently. These varied from anger, denial, and fear, to acceptance. The latter is the one that allowed them to find peace before leaving.

What will you regret when you’re about to die?

When the nurse asked them what their regrets were or what they would liked to have done differently, there were common themes. The most frequent were:

“I wish I’d had the courage to be true to myself and not how others expected me to be”. This was the most recurrent regret. When someone realizes that they’re about to die, it’s easier for them to see the past clearly. In fact, to look back and see how many of their dreams remain unfulfilled. As a matter of fact, it’s proven that most people make only half of their dreams come true in their lifetime. This means that they die knowing that the rest could’ve been fulfilled if they’d really tried and hadn’t given in to what those around them considered to be correct or advisable.

Being true to yourself is a challenge that you shouldn’t ever ignore. Indeed, you should do what you like, regardless of what others say. Everyone should enjoy their life as they see fit. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Keep in mind that your health gives you the kind of freedom you tend not to recognize until you no longer have it.

Working too much

“I wish I hadn’t worked so much”. These sentiments were more frequent in male patients, who, in their opinion, had neglected their family and friends by working more than ten hours a day.

They regretted not seeing the birth or growth of their children, not being there on birthdays and anniversaries, and always thinking about their boss and their problems at work. In effect, they all missed their own youth when their children were little or when they were newly married. In the case of women, this didn’t tend to happen in past generations. However, with working conditions today, there’s a good possibility that current generations of women will experience the same regrets as men.

Simplifying lifestyles, making the right decisions along the way, realizing that money isn’t everything (even though they try and convince us otherwise) will mean that you won’t have to experience these kinds of regrets when you’re about to die. Being happier with what you have, not wanting more material things, spending more time with your children, partner, parents, or friends, enjoying days off and not doing overtime, etc. It’s a great way to live.

A woman kissing her elderly relative.

Expressing feelings

“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings”. How many times do you find yourself harboring these kinds of bitter feelings because you’re unable to say what you really think? You might suppress them to remain at peace with others or out of shame. In fact, it’s proven that some diseases arise from ‘storing’ bad thoughts, reproaches, and unsaid words. Nevertheless, these unspoken sentiments arent always negative. They include the”I love yous”, the”I’m sorrys ” and the “I need yous”.

You can’t control the reaction that another person may have to you when you say something. However, saying it can free you from a great tension, that you usually experience in your chest or back. Whichever way you decide to say it, make sure you do it, or later you’ll regret that you didn’t.

Keeping in touch

“I wish I’d kept in touch with my friends”. Old friendships offer many benefits. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes it until the last moment of their lives when they suddenly remember them. Sadly, it’s not always possible to locate these old friends when the dying person asks to see them for one last time. Indeed, several confessed that they hadn’t seen their friends for a long time (often in excess of ten years), because they were always too busy to meet.

With today’s lifestyle, you probably won’t find it easy to make time in your daily schedule to go for a drink or coffee with a childhood friend. With new technology, meetings are no longer scheduled, but everything tends to be said on social media. However, talking to a friend face to face is the best memory a person can take with them to their grave. Therefore, make sure you organize your life in such a way that you meet up with your friends at least once a month to have a chat.

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