The only thing that is possibly more difficult than losing a loved one is being with them in their final days.
Or worse yet, their final moments.
When it's no longer a question of if but when.
No matter their age, or cause of death, when people know that the end is near, they will become reflective of their life and all they've accomplished.
And sadly, all the things they wish they'd done... or hadn't done.
The things they never got a chance to do or wished they'd never said.
Something that health care workers and home aids find themselves equally moved by as the family sitting vigil.
Redditor delete_my_comment was curious to hear the most heartbreaking confessions hospital and healthcare workers heard from their dying patients, leading them to ask:
"Hospital workers, what regrets do you hear from dying patients?"
Some People Are Just Ready To Go.
"Some people just want you to let them go."
"I had a man with terminal cancer break down crying after his daughters left the room because they wanted him to 'keep fighting' and he just wanted to rest and pass peacefully."
"Learn when to let go."- SheWolf04
When You're Truly Alone
"He was one of my first patients as a nursing student, named Frank."
"He was 92."
"After knowing him a few days, he disclosed to me his regret was outliving everyone he loved."
"That he and his wife hadn’t had kids, and he was 'all that was left' and that he wanted to see his wife again."
"I wasn’t sure how to respond , so I just listened."
"It made me realize how living so long isn’t great if everyone you love is gone."
'He passed away later that week, and while I distinctly recall some of my classmates being upset, I felt relief for him."
"I knew he was where he wanted to be."
"I’ve had many patients since, but you tend to remember your first ones."
"Other than that, ditto what everyone’s saying, more time with family/loved ones, wish they wasted less time with work or other bullsh*t, etc."- Reiiran
Regret Comes In Many Forms
"I’m a hospice social worker, so I have the honor of getting to listen to peoples’ life stories, including favorite memories and regrets."
"Most regrets center around what they didn’t get to do, like never traveling to Italy when their family was originally from Naples."
"Some regret not getting specific education, wanting to go to college but never doing it."
"Some regret their choice in partner, especially when alcohol/drug abuse was involved, or cheating."
"Many express a sadness that looks a lot like regret if they are estranged from family."
"And some have anticipatory grief from knowing they will miss a milestone, like the birth of a grandchild."
"Some regret not taking better care of their health, people with COPD who regret ever having a cigarette."
"In general life is long and time smooths some of the rough edges, so people tend to focus on the good."- Notacoldnight
"I worked in long term care for 12 years."
"I remember a married couple that shared a room."
"She had cancer and kidney failure."
"I was helping her eat lunch one day with her husband sitting there with us."
"She looked like death but her husband looked at her then at me and said have you ever seen a more beautiful woman?"
"I had to leave and go to the bathroom and cry."
"I cried for days every time I thought of what he said."
"I thought I would never know what it was like to be loved like that."
"I had been divorced for years."
"I couldn’t even tell the story without tearing up."
"Footnote, I was divorced 23 years when I met Rod."
"Been together for 11 years."
"I know that love now. It’s never too late."- Moonpixy
Past Decisions Come Back To Haunt You
"He wished he had been a better father to his daughter."
"He wished they had reconnected."
"His dementia prevented him from remembering they had reconnected years before and that she visited often."
"I wish I could have made him aware that he had accomplished his last wish."
"But he died not really understanding that."- shesagdb
The Life He Never Got To Live
"I worked as an oncology nurse right out of nursing school."
"I was barely 21 years old."
"Had a patient about my age who was dying of lung cancer."
"A few hours before he died I sat with him and he was telling me how much he wished that he would have had more time-to maybe fall in love, marry, have kids."
"He was so young."
"He asked me to call his parents and he died shortly after they arrived."
"It was awful."
"His regrets were more about the life not lived."
"Many older patients had some interesting life stories and most wanted to tell them before they died."
"Most were at peace with the life they lived."
"Many regretted working so much and not spending enough time with family."- MagiBee218
Life is precious and short.
Chances are, none of us will accomplish everything we hope to in life.
So the best we can do is live to the fullest, and enjoy each waking moment.
And never take for granted the people we love and who love us.