Thursday, July 24, 2014

Just a Thought...

Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.  [Stephen Vincent Benét]

Hey, do you know what I found out yesterday?  That Monday's CHFI morning e-mail didn't get sent out.  Son of a glitch!  That explained why there were fewer visitors than usual and so I wanted to give you a chance to see a video that I put together, that you might just enjoy.  Those who were regular journal visitors before 98.1 CHFI very kindly sent out a link daily did see it, and I heard from many who enjoyed what Rob and I had done in memory of my mom.  I promise it's not sad; the reason it came up is that I got a chance Friday to tell Pat Monahan of the band Train just how much his music meant to me on a personal note.  We'd put an album track from California 37 ("Sing Together") to pictures as a special tribute to my mom, who left us in Feb. 2012 whilst staying in...California.  At any rate, the link to Monday's journal is HERE [scroll down to get to Monday's Journal].  The explanation as to how to view the video is also there.  When you get to my video gallery, the thumbnail bottom left of a woman leaning against a rail with an autumn backdrop is Ma.  It's not sad.  I promise!

By the way - if you're the "Grace" whose wisdom I shared with readers here Tuesday (about taking concerts in with your eyes, instead of your camera) - drop me a line!  I have deleted your email and wanted to send some feedback.

As for today, I thought I'd share with you something I read to Mike yesterday at around 6:40 am.  If you were up and heard it, I hope it's worth repeating.  I sure thought it was and it actually ties in with the idea of a memorial.  I think #5 would definitely have resonated most clearly with my mother - coincidentally also a nurse; for me it's every single one of them but #4.  Friends who've drifted away were never meant to stay, only to be there during that chapter and move on to enrich other people's lives.  At least that's how I see it.  I might see things differently if Rob and I weren't so closely entwined.

But this list is sure one big wakeup call.  See if you don't agree.
Nurse Reveals the Top 5 Regrets People Make on Their Deathbed

(originally written by Bronnie Ware)

    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 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.

    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 realize, 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 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.

    It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching 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 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.

    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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