Palliative Care is medical care given to patients whose diseases no longer respond to curable treatments. The patient has a condition that is life-limiting and life-threatening. Hospice palliative care aims to alleviate the suffering of these patients and to enhance the quality of life in the remaining days of life. Hospice work involves providing for the relief from pain and other distressing symptoms, as well as the giving of professional advice and support to families of cancer patients to help them care better for these patients.
So while browsing on Facebook recently, a link caught my attention and led me to the site of Bronnie Ware. Ware is the author of an international bestseller, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.” She is also a speaker, personal growth facilitator, and a songwriter. Currently, Ware lives in Australia and advocates for simple living. You can also check out more of her literature via her blog.
Ware was also involved in the palliative care movement for years and has spent some critical moments with her patients. Her patients consisted of those who went home to spend their final days. She has made it a point to ask them some questions about their view of life. She also noted this, “People grow a lot when they are faced with their mortality. I learned 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.”
Ware noticed that similar themes are being talked about over and over again on the patient’s perception or regrets towards life. The list below shows the five most common ones:
I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life of others expected of me.
Ware noted that this regret was the most common one of all. She reasoned that because when the end of life is within sight, one’s realization towards reality becomes more evident. One also tends to realize how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Many are regretful for not being able to fulfill even half of their goals due to the choices they have made.
So I say live life to the fullest every day! Make the best out of your life because you will never know what happens tomorrow.
I wish I didn’t work so hard.
According to Ware, this remark came from every male patient she nursed. They mainly voiced it because they regretted spending so much time on work and neglected the beautiful things in life. These patients miss their children’s youth and the companionship of their partners. She also stated that women do regret this too, but not as much as men because they were mostly not breadwinners.
Hence, it is essential to have a balance in life. There should be a place and time for work as well as other things in life outside of work. I think it is due to the pressure of living up to the society, which made us heavily invested in trying to rake in as much dough as we can, prioritizing the need to earn money before everything else. Yes, in reality, money talks. But there are more things in life beyond money.
I wish I had the courage to express my feelings
I think this occurs to many people. We often suppress our feelings or dismiss them for the sake of keeping peace with others. We compromised. We end up restricting our freedom. According to Ware, many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and the resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control how others react, but there might be a point where we should be honest because, ultimately, it would raise the relationship to a whole new level. If the other party insists on disagreeing with you, then you should know whom to cut contacts with.
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Ware noted that patients nearing the end of their life did not realize the full benefits of old friends initially, right to the point where it is impossible to track them down already anyway. Just like the occupancy of work, many patients got so caught with their own lives that they neglected friendship over the years. It was evident that everyone misses their friends when death is near.
Ware also said that it is pretty standard for anyone with a busy lifestyle to let friendship slip. However, when a person is nearing death, the physical parts of life usually fall away. These patients want to get things for the benefit of those they love, but they are generally too weak or ill to perform such tasks—love and relationship matters, especially towards the final weeks of their lives.
I wish that I had let myself be happier.
I guess this is the utmost importance. Ware noted that many patients did not realize that happiness is a choice. We can all choose to be happy, but due to the fear of change, we tend to become someone we aren’t. These patients longed to laugh properly and be silly again.
A little note to everyone reading this, always live the life you yearned for today. Life is short, so make the best out of it. Try to give yourself 10 minutes of reflection. Ask yourself, what do you want in your life? Put them down on a bucket list and come up with ways to fulfill them. It can be a vacation hotspot, a deed you have always wanted to do, or challenging new things. Do it now! It’s now or never.
Be A Hero For Someone Today
Play that small role of yours in spreading the awareness of Palliative Care. Help others by contributing a little from your side to save their lives or to give more days.