Nurse Reveals Top 5 Regrets People Make on Their Deathbed

Painting by Lewis Isaac Testa

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 realise 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.

This article first appeared at Real Farmacy.

The Marvel of an Ordinary Life

Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. 
Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. 
Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. 
Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry when pets and people die. 
Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. 
And make the ordinary come alive for them. 
The extraordinary will take care of itself. 

 -William Martin



Fabulous Reasons to Wear Your Baby!

Some of the many parent/baby-friendly reasons to wear your little one. ❤
(click image to open and view larger)

Infograph from Onya Baby:

For further babywearing information check out items on this page, or resources here. 


Infant Circumcision vs. Adult Circumcision

By John Baade © 2014

The differences between surgical amputation of the prepuce (foreskin) in infancy or adulthood are numerous. While the vast majority of men in the world are happily intact for a lifetime, and would never dream of removing this pleasurable part of their penis, should someone choose to be circumcised, doing so as an adult is far less risky, less painful, and more ethical than circumcising a newborn baby.

Infant Circumcision

• At birth, the foreskin is fused to the glans (head) of the penis like a fingernail to the finger. It must first be probed and ripped apart, before being amputated. This process can damage the glans or shaft of the penis.

• A newborn penis is incredibly small - increasing risk of surgical error, or accidentally cutting off ‘too much.’ Because of its undeveloped state, how much is cut depends on the individual holding the scalpel - there is no way to know how the penis will develop.

• A newborn has heightened senses in order to feel his mom and learn her touch. This dramatically increases the experience of pain. Research shows pain in the newborn period is remembered in the core brain - and is revealed in how we experience pain later in life (more pain in infancy, more pain in adulthood).

• A newborn cannot receive adequate anesthesia or pain relief during surgery, or during the weeks of healing that follow.

• Risks of hemorrhage, amputation, seizure, stroke, heart failure, and a wide range of surgical complications are significantly greater in the newborn period. A baby only needs to lose 1 ounce of blood to hemorrhage, and 2.3 ounces to die from blood loss.

• A newborn in a diaper (fecal matter, urine) increases pain at the surgical site. With this healing wound, and without the natural protection of the foreskin, there is an also increased risk of infection, including UTIs.

• The body of a newborn will do all it can to heal itself. After surgery, the penis will try to re-cover the glans, leading to adhesions that may be ripped open repeatedly, causing more pain and trauma to the penis.

• A healthy infant cannot consent to a medically unnecessary surgery. Part of the penis is forever removed from the body without his understanding, and he lives with the outcome - whatever this may be.

Infant circumcision vs. adult circumcision

Adult Circumcision

• The foreskin has already naturally separated from the glans (no probing or tearing is needed).

• The adult penis is fully developed, so how much or how little is amputated can be determined.

• The risk of additional/accidental amputation is minimal.

• An adult is able to receive adequate anesthesia during and after surgery, and is able to self-medicate with pain relief options during healing.

• Risk of surgical complications in adulthood are significantly reduced and the body is able to handle more interventions.

• Risk of infection is minimal.

• Because development is complete, the body does not try to compensate for removed parts (skin bridges, adhesions, meatal stenosis, etc. are not as likely).

• An adult can choose medically unnecessary surgical augmentation for himself, know the risks, side effects, and outcome potentials. It is HIS body, HIS choice.

WHO in the world is circumcised?

To learn more about the foreskin, and its reason for existing, see:

Foreskin Facts Printable Sheet

The above sheet is sized to fit standard 8.5 x 11 inch paper.
You are welcome to download and print in color for educational purposes.
Additional educational items can be found at the #i2 Materials tab above, or at Etsy.



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