13 Hospital Workers Share the Most Common Regrets They Hear from Their Dying Patients

We all want to live with no regrets. So how can we manage to do that? Unfortunately, it’s by asking people on their death bed what really matters at that point in life. It may be a little morbid, but hearing it from the people who know it best can really help us truly live our life to the fullest.

In a recent Reddit thread, hospital workers shared the most common regrets they heard from dying patients. Here are some of the best answers that really hit home:

  1. Outliving Loved Ones

    “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… and it made me realize how living so long isn’t great if everyone you love is gone.”

  2. Being a Better Parent

    “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.”

  3. Not Having Enough Family Time

    “Whenever someone is at the end of their life, they always just want to be with their loved ones. Any regrets I’ve heard is always family related.”

  4. Speaking Up

    “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.’”

  5. Being Weary of the Sun

    “I was a hospice nurse. One of my elderly patients had skin cancer, a huge malignant melanoma on the side of his neck that was growing rapidly. He had been a farmer all his life and never married. One night we were talking and I asked him if there was anything he wished he had done differently in his life, and he thought about it a minute and said he wished he had worn a hat when he was farming. I wish he did too.”

  6. Not Traveling Enough

    “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.”

  7. Letting ‘The One’ Go

    “During my placement at the city hospital, I got to talking to an older man (he must have been like 88 then… 2010). he was talking about how i look exotic and always complimented my long hair etc etc… i was never threatened or put off by it. One day he told me i looked like the woman he wished he never let go. That he was completely happy about how his life turned out, loved his family and late wife, but he always thinks about the woman he shouldn’t have let go by. Years later, I met a guy at work who ended up moving across the country for work. i remembered this old man and followed my heart. I never let my love get away. I married him this summer. You should always at least try. Even if it doesn’t work out, go for it and find out so you never.”

  8. Being Alone

    “Although the ones with family around them face different problems, the ones that have no one there in the end seem to have the toughest time.”

  9. Settling

    “Wasting their life with their spouse (for various reasons) when they could have possibly been with someone they loved/met a soul mate.”

  10. Not Doing All They Wished to Do

    “Not accomplishing a bucket list item such as living in a foreign country.”

  11. Not Partaking in Self Care

    “Not taking better care of themselves. If you smoke or drink too much, stop.”

  12. Working Too Much

    “My grandmother used to be a nurse and she would say ‘I’ve seen a lot of people through their last days and heard a lot of regrets, but I have never heard anyone coming up to the end wishing they had spent more time working.’”

  13. Caring What People Think

    “We were screaming to the hospital he looked me dead in the eye and goes, ‘I should have ate that f****** cake,’ when I asked what he meant, he told me ‘f what others think if it makes you happy do it, eat the cake, pet a squirrel, take a nap. f anyone else it doesn’t matter.”

Which regret resonates most with you?