As described in a recent article by AARP, palliative care can be a place filled with many emotions - denial, fear, anger, remorse, then eventually acceptance.
These are the 5 most common regrets of the dying listed by AARP:
1. Unfulfilled dreams.
Most people felt they had not realized even half of their dreams and faced death knowing their personal choices were the determining factors. AARP recommended that palliative care patients honor at least some of their dreams. One of the key choices was keeping healthy. Health is a gateway to freedom until they no longer had it.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
Older generation male patients regretted missing their children's youth and their partner's companionship, trading in for lives on the the treadmill of work.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
People pleasing behavior may have helped keep the peace but led to suppressed feelings. The result was bitterness and a half-full, mediocre life.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Many palliative care patients felt they had become caught up in their own lives and had let golden friendships disappear over the years. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Near the end of life, many people realize that happiness was a choice. Old patterns and habits had persisted. Their fear of change had them playing a safe life.
The AARP article ended: "Life is a choice. It is your life. Choose consciously, choose wisely and choose honestly. Choose happiness."