Nurse Reveals Top 5 Regrets People Make on Their Death Bed

This is a blog post from a nurse that worked in Palliative Care for many years and divulges the Top 5 regrets people make on their death bed.

…this article hit me very hard because its something that Im so passionate about.

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a dreamer and have always thought of things larger than life.

It pains me knowing that there are so many people out there that simply do not go after what they really want in life, or sluff it off saying that they will ‘get to it later’ and then 50 years flies by and its too late…and that dismal look of regret and disappointment is burned into their expression and weighs on them like a burden.

Go after what you really want in life because the ONLY time is NOW.

Enjoy :)

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top 5 regrets

Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed

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 yourapproaching 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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You can choose at any moment, on any given day, to change your life…and live the life you deserve.

I chose to do it through online marketing because it set me free of time and location, so that I can travel the world and still have an income coming in.

When will you decide to go after what you REALLY want in life?

Find out more HERE and see how online marketing can give you the life you’ve always dreamed of.

 

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101 thoughts on “Nurse Reveals Top 5 Regrets People Make on Their Death Bed

    1. Tanner Post author

      Absolutely, and thankyou for stopping by. This post should be seen by everyone because its far to easy to simply let ‘life’ get away from us and from what we really want to do :)

      Reply
      1. Tanner Post author

        If you can catch it early then you are alright, but unfortunately too many people never realize whats truly important to them until its too late.

        Reply
    2. Lunaela

      The first one about honouring your dreams along the way because the moment you lose your health it’s too late – it struck home for me. I am still young and not terminally ill but I have lost my health and I suffer from a progressively disabling disease that has made me realize that health truly does bring freedom – and most people my age do not realize that. I am very thankful that you made me realize that I still have the opportunity to follow my dreams – and that they are still worth following – even of they will take a lot longer than most other people! 50 years from now I want to be able to say that I honoured my dreams despite my condition and had the courage to follow them while it was still possible! :)

      Reply
      1. Tanner Post author

        Thats awesome :) And its that attitidue that will keep You going despite the possible difficulties to achieve Your dreams!

        It always boggles my mind when I see Younger people throw away their health to excessive drinking, drugs and cigarettes. Usually by the time they realize the grand affect its too late.

        Reply
      2. Cynthia Guenther Richardson

        I am very moved by your words. Please know you are truly not alone with physical challenges/burdens and that many who create or give time and care to others or simply expand their lives with hopeful excitement are out here working away at it. You deserve your dreams to be made tangible; your spirit will guide you. Regards.

        Reply
  1. Debbie

    I like when others inspire others. This world needs more people like this. I encourage people to find their passion and let it shine for the world to see. Thanks for following me!

    Reply
    1. Tanner Post author

      Thanks Debbie, people literally have the ability to change their situation simply by making a choice to want something better for themselves…and sometimes all they need is a little inspiration :)

      Reply
  2. GTrigg

    It’s amazing to me how many of these regrets I’ve already felt twinges of as a relatively young and healthy person in my 30s and nowhere near death’s door, unless I have some really nasty surprise in store for me that I don’t know about! ;-) Regrets and dreams… Indeed, this article touches some very deep nerves. Well done, sir. I suppose I do have to follow you back.

    Reply
    1. Tanner Post author

      I totally agree with you, fortunately you caught it in time to where you can do something about it ASAP if you choose.

      Hopefully it has inspired you to play big, live free and to go after what you really want in life :)

      If you need anything just let me know!

      Reply
  3. Carmen Hall

    These are helpful insights, worth the time to read and share!

    One of the gifts of my life was having my mother live with me during her final dying months with oral cancer. She lost the ability to speak quicker than I expected. There are so many things I wish I could ask her!

    Still, I could observe what things really matter as one approaches the end of life on this earth and faces eternity. They are few, but they are crucial. Where do you stand with your Maker? Do you approach Him with fear or sweet assurance? Do you have others who love you surrounding you? Nothing else holds you during those moments. Degrees, wealth, and beauty pass away. Moments after she died, I sang, dance, knelt, and cried before God, while I played “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me. Beautiful memory.

    Also, thank you for following my new blog, xenophileathome.wordpress.com. It was a sweet start to my Monday.~Carmen

    Reply
    1. Tanner Post author

      Thanks for reading and commenting on my post :)

      I had 2 family members pass away in a short period of time from cancer and it was when that happened that I had the ‘ah-ha’ moment where I realized that a lot of the ‘things’ that we asa society strive for don’t matter at all.

      The most valuable asset you have is time and how you spend it with life experiences and who you share it with. Since I came to that realization I did a 360 in my life and couldnt be happier :)

      Reply
        1. Tanner Post author

          Powerful Post! That post will impact thousands of people for the fact that there are so many that shared your mindset towards happiness. I like how you gave them an actionable game plan as well :)

          Reply
          1. icn2you

            Thank you, Tanner. Your words of encouragement mean a lot. Let’s hope I can acquire an audience of thousands some day. I just recently launched Simple Heart so we’ll see what becomes of it. I’ve got high hopes and dreams!

            Reply
  4. shadeakinbiyi

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Some valuable insights on life here. You got me thinking and reflecting again on some points made. Thanks for what you, many need the inspiration you provide. Keep up the good work. Blessings!

    Reply
    1. Tanner Post author

      Thank you for your comment :) …Im glad you found some value from my posts as one of my intentions is to inspire people to be the best version of themselves and to live life to its fullest.

      Reply
  5. Anonymous

    This was a GREAT article! Thank you for sharing it:-)
    Honestly, I didn’t realize I probably fall into the majority of the categories which is not good. Very Enlightening!

    Reply
    1. Tanner Post author

      If you enjoy your work then post as much as you like :)

      As long as its what you really wanting to be doing with your time then its perfect!

      Reply
    1. Tanner Post author

      Absolutely Livonne, I couldnt agree more. I stumbled across another article thats similar but has 20 regrets by people and they all revolve around the same idea.

      Not living to their true potential, not following their dreams, and listening to other peoples opinions too much.

      Reply
        1. Tanner Post author

          Nice, I’ve been out to Toronto before, very overwhelming lol

          I may be spending some time out east on the coast in the summer I hear its beautiful. Any recommendations?

          Reply
          1. StillValerie

            All of Atlantic Canada is fantastic, but try to check out Newfoundland and Labrador – the scenery is spectacular and the people have such warm and hospitable hearts. Enjoy your travels!

            Reply
    1. Tanner Post author

      Thankyou :)

      And absolutely, it’s as if everything becomes crystal clear when all the distractions, the hustle and bustle and minutia of life goes to the wayside.

      Reply
  6. Lucia Maya

    Thanks for following my blog! I love this post. As I watched my daughter die from cancer, I am so aware of how quickly life can end, and how essential it is to life the life we truly want, so there are no regrets at the end!

    My daughter lived an incredibly rich and full life in her 22 years, and at age 50, I intend to live every day filled with love, connection and beauty!

    Reply
    1. Tanner Post author

      Thanks Lucia and sorry to hear about your daughter. I had 2 family members pass very close together so I can absolutely relate with you too.

      It’s never too late to take control and live the life you’ve always dreamed :)

      Reply
  7. Karina Lovelace

    Thanks for following my blog Tanner! This is a great post. It takes a lot of courage to live the life we’re meant to have and taking those steps can be pretty scary. Only in hindsight do we see that it’s not as hard as it originally appeared and that we really should’ve followed our heart.

    Reply
    1. Tanner Post author

      No problem at all Karina and absolutely! It can definitely be scary especially if you’re in a rut or comfortable in the situation you’re in.

      To me it was scarier to remain in the same situation I was in and never know what type of life I could be living if I tried to do something different.

      Reply
  8. Stephanie Elise

    Thank you so much for following my blog! I am just getting started but I truly believe that it will become larger than I ever imagined!! This post is so on time for me. Further confirms that I’m moving in the right direction with my endeavors!

    Peace and Love

    Reply
  9. Wordwizarduma

    I agree with the people who regret what they could not do in their lifetime. We all, in the course of our life forget ourselves and the way one should lead our lives. Small things of happiness and tiny joys are always overlooked which we regret later. It applies to me also.

    I hope we all come out of the rat race to make money and enjoy the life God has given us.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    This is insightful! It makes you re-assess your approach to life and living. I also want to thank you for following my blog. I appreciate it. Shery

    Reply
  11. edgar62

    Thank you for following. I have to be as honest as I can be and say that I am happy with my life. I have a lovely wife, a home and two wonderful sons. If I have a regret it’s that I didn’t get to know my own father better. Other than I cannot – at the moment – think of any regrets.

    Reply
    1. Tanner Post author

      Thats awesome Edgar :) You’re one of the few that have lived their life with few/if any regrets.

      What would be your biggest advice to people to live a fulfilling life without regrets like you have?

      Reply
    1. Tanner Post author

      Thanks for stopping by :) Thats awesome that you kept true to yourself, your values and kept whats important to you in the forefront.

      How did you manage to do this? What advice could you give others?

      Reply
  12. Irene

    I have read this nurses book in which she wrote about these regrets…it’s so true…and it’s good to read it again here on your blog. Good that you shared, because people shouldn’t regret living their life, they should look back to it with joy happiness and love.

    Reply
    1. Tanner Post author

      Absolutely Irene :) …one of my “life motto’s” is Play Big. Live Free…meaning to play to Your full potential in life, leave nothing on the table and to live the freedom lifestyle with no restraints.

      Reply
      1. Irene

        And you are right about that…it’s not always easy though for me. But since I started to change and rebuild my life, I feel much happier

        Reply
  13. Mishe

    Hi Tanner: Thanks for this reminder. This year my focus is on number 4, an area that I have been forgetting due to number 2. But I am doing better…Happy New Year!

    Reply
    1. Tanner Post author

      Happy New Year to You too Mishe. I know You’ll accomplish them :) The first step is actually being aware of it which You already know so you’re already on the right track!

      Reply
  14. mbheri

    Thanx for liking my blog, i liked this post particularly, m blogging coz i thought i was tired of living life according to opportunities,but was not finding a way out until i met with an accident, while recovering i thought of living the way i wanted to hence started blogging.
    P.S.: No offence, was wondering why you chose “Tanner” for blogging, is that your real name.

    Reply
    1. Tanner Post author

      Sometimes we need those life changing moments to happen to us for things to become crystal clear. Im glad Youre on the right track!

      And yes my real name is Tanner :)

      Reply
      1. mbheri

        Thanx for replying Mr. Tanner, am glad that i am doing what i like, it great to be able to share thoughts, getting helped and being of a little help to others :)

        Reply
  15. powertiyerpen

    Thanks for reading my words and following my blog.
    Despite feeling bad about my lack of income or material possessions in my life at this age, this has made me feel sane and justified in my choices to live life the way I do. Thanks for posting.
    Powertiyerpen!

    Reply
  16. lfrancois

    Wow, what a wonderful post. I am also an RN and have been a hospice nurse for over 10 years. You have totally captured the lessons that I have learnt from those I cared for as a hospice nurse and also in the acute care facilities.

    It was as a result of those lessons that I chose to leave the bedside to become a holistic health coach. I wanted to do what was most meaningful to me, and most impactful for my clients, so that I would not have the regrets many had expressed.

    When my mother and grandmother died, I learned the importance of expressing love and telling the ones you love how much you mean to them. Because, by the time they are dead, it is too late to make those expressions.

    Thanks again for the well-written blog and wonderful lessons for the living.

    Reply
    1. Tanner Post author

      Thats powerful! and thank you for sharing :) I believe that everyone should follow their passions and leave nothing on the table so to speak.

      How long have you been a holistic health coach for?

      Reply
      1. lfrancois

        I have been coaching for 2 years now and find it very rewarding and fulfilling. I finally get work on the preventative end of medicine and see people reduce their risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

        Reply
  17. extrasunday

    Thanks for the sharing. I must say coming from a typical Asian culture family, I do go thru moments when family dictated what you should do and not; what you should study and focus in life. Nevertheless, what I think is the most important is not to regret over it as long as we start taking charge/control of our own lives from here onward. You are absolutely right about having friends around. I am really lucky to be blessed with 12 lovely girlfriends whom had been with me since 7 years old; and some 6! People say friends come and go (away) from your life; but these ladies certainly came to stay. Thru tears and laughter, they will never ever fail me whenever I need a shoulder to lean on. Cheers

    Reply

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