No regrets…

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I recently read an article that listed the Top 5 regrets of the dying, created by Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who cared for patients during the last 12 weeks of their life.

Courtesy of The Guardian, here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:

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 honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”

2. I wish I hadn’t worked 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.”

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.”

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realize 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.”

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize 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.”

So, in the end it’s the little things, folks.  Not the big monetary “stuff” you’ve accumulated.  Not the “status”.  Just the simplicity of life itself.

Will you have any regrets?

Life lessons…

Last weekend my children insisted they wanted a fish.  The topic of a fish has been a longstanding issue in my house with my daughter.  However, this time she recruited her little brother.  The nagging was so intense that I eventually caved.  Yes, bad parent, I know.  The agreement was that the cost of the supplies and the fish would come from their allowance.  Both understood, even after I explained a thousand reasons why I thought this was a bad idea.  Besides, they have two gigantic dogs.  What more could they want?

$70 dollars later (which resulted in me forking over $35 of my own money) my children had what they needed for one beta fish, about the size of my pinky finger.  We rushed home and got the fish bowl together, the fake plants, and even the “no fishing” sign set up.  The heater was put in so the temperature would be just right.

I must say the fish was very well cared for.  Or perhaps I should say my son took good care of Kate (the fish).  My daughter soon tired of the fish… maybe she realized it was incapable of long walks in the park, or cuddles on the couch.  My son would wake everyday feeding this vibrant pink and purple fish.  Sometimes I’d find him talking to her.

Unfortunately, two days ago we woke up to find Kate floating at the bottom of the bowl.  My daughter screeching “ewww!”, my son just stood there baffled.  He was even a little heartbroken.  Luckily, he soon recovered and was able to say a final goodbye as Kate took a final trip down the roaring rapids of the flusher.  I thank my husband for teaching my children the natural cycle of life and death.  I don’t know why Kate died so soon.  I’m sure that there was something we neglected.  I do know, however, that my kids fully understand the concept of life and death and accept its natural process.  And understanding this process they are aware of its delicacy, its importance, and its awesomeness.

They weren’t so thrilled, however, when dad told them Kate should have went to the compost pile…

RIP Kate.