You Could Die Tomorrow!
When I was 21, my father walked to the market like he did almost every morning. Only on this day, he arrived just as a robber was trying to escape with a bag of stolen cash.
“The thief jumped in his car and tried to speed away but Jean-Louis, (my father), stepped in front of the getaway car in an attempt to stop the thief from escaping.”
The thief didn’t slowdown and hit my father head on. The impact was so strong my father flew almost 10 metres in the air and landed on his head causing severe head trauma and uncontrollable brain swelling.
I never spoke to my father again.
He died three days later in the hospital at the age of 64 despite several operations to relieve the swelling in his head, leaving me and my then 14 year old brother behind.
Expect The Unexpected
I never expected to lose my father so suddenly. We always assumed and made plans as if he would die at the ripe old age of 101 after having fulfilled all his dreams and wishes. Or at-least that’s how I looked at things back then.
Since that day, I have this little voice in the back of my head that eggs me on to live my life to the fullest because let’s face it.
Life is short, what happened to my father could happen to anyone, EVEN YOU!
“The most dangerous risk of all– the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” — Randy Komisar
Top 5 Deathbed Regrets
I hadn’t thought about my father in long time until I read an article by Bonnie Ware;
Bonnie is a former nurse who worked with the dying and as a result she spent a lot of time talking with her dying patients. She noticed many of them shared the same deathbed regrets.
I’ve paraphrased the top five regrets according to Bonnie’s patients below. After reading them, you may find yourself nodding your head in agreement to a few and wondering if you might also have these same regrets on your own deathbed.
I know I did and I also couldn’t help but wonder if my own father would have had any of his own deathbed regrets.
WILL YOU HAVE SOME OF THESE SAME REGRETS?
1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
Bonnie says this was the most common regret. At the end of your life, it’s easy to look back and see how many unfulfilled dreams you have.
I can’t stress to you how important It is to honour or at least try to honour some of your dreams.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
Many of the male patients regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence which caused them to miss their children’s youth or neglect their relationships with their partner and loved ones.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep the peace or to spare other peoples feeling. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became or expressed who they really were.
You can’t control how other people will react to you speaking more honestly but you will at least have shown your true self and either raise the relationship to a new level or rid yourself of unhealthy relationships.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Many of Bonnies patients were so caught up in their own lives that they neglected friendships and eventually lost contact over the years only to find themselves regretting this on their deathbed.
Keep building you friendships and seek out new friends on a regular basis.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Many people settle for the life they have rather than the life they want.
If only these people had given themselves permission to pursue their dreams or a version of their dreams rather than sacrificing their happiness and enduring a life they were not completely happy with.
Let yourself be happy. It’s a choice.
What Will You Regret?
What’s this got to do with travel?
I have lived abroad several times before marriage and kids including as a small child with my parents.
But my biggest dream was to pass on the gift and my love of travel to my children. I can’t explain it, it just is what it is.
So great was this urge that if we (my family) had not at least tried in some way to live abroad, I am sure this dream would have ended up as one of my deathbed regrets.
But let me be clear.
If my husband had not wanted to live in France or my kids hated living in France, I would not have opted to spending 2 plus years abroad.
I would have settled for some version of my dream like a summer in France with the family or perhaps another country or maybe not travelling abroad at all but staying within the US and Canada.
My point is, we can’t always live our dream to a “T” but we can at least live some version of it.
What can you do to start living a life with fewer regrets?
Whatever your dreams are……
- Don’t let your regrets fester and grow. Accept them and use them to propel you to make change and adopt new behaviours.
- Live for today: You never know what the future holds for you so live your life to it’s fullest and if you have kids teach them the same with your actions not just your words.
- Be Happy! You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to live your life in such a way that brings you happiness and joy. It would have killed me to know that my father regretted not doing something because he felt guilty or sacrificed for me. It brings me joy to know that he led a happy and fulfilled life.
- Don’t let fear of failure stop you! Even if you fail or if you can’t achieve your full dream, in the least you need to try or try some scaled down version of it. Don’t let the fear of what might happen stop you. Imagine what could be if you tried!
If you would like to read Bonnie’s original article on the “top five deathbed regrets” then click on this link. Regrets-of-the-Dying