9 Common Regrets We Have On Our Deathbeds
By Justin Cowart
Grace Bluerock, who has spent the past 6 years working in hospice care, said that the experiences that she’s had have been some of the most profound and meaningful experiences of her whole life.
She would sit at the bedside of dying women and men as they strove to make peace with the time that they had spent on earth. Some were able to find some sort of resolution at the end, yet others were not so lucky. Even though each person’s life story was different and unique, certain types of regrets were expressed time and time again.
You do not have to wait until it is too late – you can start making conscious choices right NOW, in THIS moment, to live fully and make the most out of every single opportunity you have.
Below are 9 different regrets that have been expressed by hospice patients that can hopefully better teach us all just how to start living a better and more fulfilled life today.
1. “I wish I had been more loving to the people who matter the most.”
There have been many people who have expressed great sorrow for not having been just a little more caring, understanding and present for the people who were really important to them. They also wished that they had had the courage to tell people “I love you” more often than they did.
You should always take a few moments in your day to make a phone call or write a letter to someone that you love and just let them know how much you care. I bet it would mean the world to them and I am sure it would make you feel pretty good as well.
2. “I wish I had been a better spouse, parent, or child.”
Patients of Grace would more often tell her that they often regretted taking their families and friends for granted. When they became terminally ill, it was their family who stuck by their side to hold their hand, providing companionship and love, caring for them around the clock.
Remember, even though your family may not be perfect, they’re probably going to be the people who are there for you when you need them the most. Remember to take the time out of your day to simply express a little more gratitude for them.
3. “I wish I had not spent so much time working.”
Many people had worked really long, hard hours and in doing so, found that they greatly regretted missing the important moments in their children’s lives. Grace remembers one such person,
“A salesman who’s boss expected him to travel three weeks each month when he had a young daughter at home. Although he was an excellent provider for her, he never got to know her well.
As she became older, he tried to form a relationship with her, but it was too late to make up for lost time. He never fully forgave himself for choosing time at work over time with her.”
One thing that you should keep in the forefront of your mind is that YOU have the ability to make choices for yourself when it comes to your job. Try and choose a company that focuses on valuing a super healthy life-work balance.
Remember that it’s really okay to respectfully decline any additional work or assignments that would require you to work longer hours than you were originally assigned. Yes, your job is important, but just remember that there are always more important things in life. It is not much of a life if you don’t attempt to live and to do so with the people you care about.
4. “I wish I had taken more risks.”
Many people said that they had a strong fear of failure and it would cause them to play life way too safe. They then knew that they could have had a little bit richer, more fulfilling lives had they only taken a few risks and really disturbed the status quo, so to speak.
“One gentleman I worked with decided he had stayed in the confines of his comfort zone for far too long. Soon after learning of his diagnosis, he took the biggest risk he could think of.
A sixtysomething man with a prosthetic leg, a terminal illness and a desire for adventure, he jumped from an airplane at an altitude of 15,000 feet and soared toward the Earth at a rate of 115 mph. He told me that the freedom and exhilaration he experienced skydiving was greater than anything he had ever done before and he had no idea why he waited so long to try it.”
Consider making a little list of everything that you have always wanted to experience or do in life. Then move towards crossing them off your list one by one and watch your happiness start to expand.
5. “I wish I had been happier and enjoyed life more.”
Most people even regretted the amount of time that they wasted worrying about things that were far beyond their control. They were not able to realize that they were capable of choosing happiness and fun until it was far too late.
Make sure that you are spending just a few minutes more every day doing something that you love and brings you joy.
6. “I wish I had lived my own dream.”
We tend to forget that many people’s lifelong dreams actually went unfulfilled simply because they were too caught up and concerned with attempting to live up to someone else’s expectations.
One huge thing to remember is that you are the only person who knows what is best for you. Make sure to allow yourself to be completely open to endless possibilities. When you stop to envision your dream, as we most often do, here is a simple mantra to remember: “this or something even better.”
7. “I wish I had taken better care of myself.”
Most of Graces’ patients thought that if they had just taken the time to sleep more and eat better, paying close attention to their well-being and health, they might not have gotten sick in the first place. They wished they would have made their self-care more of a top priority.
Make sure that you are taking time for you. Whether that is taking a well deserved nap, going for a walk in nature, or meditating each and every day, make sure you are taking the time to appreciate you.
8. “I wish I’d have done more for others.”
There have been countless wishes from multiple people who had a dream of making a difference through compassion, kindness and acts of service. Believe it or not, many of the patients made the decision, often from their hospice beds, to donate all of their resources to different charities and service organizations so that they could leave a positive impact on the lives of other people long after they were gone from this existence.
Find a cause that is super special to you and maybe even consider donating a bit of your money or, better yet, some of your time to help someone else in need.
9. “I wish I had chosen work that was meaningful for me.”
There have been many that have expressed how they never once enjoyed their job, but had to unfortunately stick with it year after year, just to pay the bills. They wished that they had instead chosen work that they could have been passionate about and given them more purpose.
Make time for yourself to get a clear idea of exactly what your are passionate about. After that, you can start looking for work that is able to speak to those passions you have.
We all seem to be in this mad rush through life, not being able to wait to get to the next big thing. You should not wait until your deathbed to wish you had lived. Start living today, right now, because this moment is truly the only moment that exists. Do not spend your entire life setting up your life to then have it easy, because before you know it, your time in this existence will be over.
We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!
Justin Cowart is a writer and researcher that loves to learn more about health, life, consciousness and making the world a better place. He loves music, traveling, meditation, video games and spending time with family and friends. He believes in baby steps and lifestyle changes in order to live a full life. In 2014, he lost around 40lbs from baby steps and emotional detoxing.
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