Several years ago, a former palliative care nurse, Bronnie Ware, wrote a widely circulated article, based on her discussions with dying patients, describing the regrets they shared with her in their final period of life. The top five were featured in an article on her site and she has since turned the article into a book. Last week the web site addicted2success listed 10 Regrets In Life By Those About To Die. This week I am discussing five of those regrets.
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise 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. (Ware)
When I was in middle and high school I thought that my friends would be friends forever. Even in our yearbooks we would write that a person is “too good to be forgotten [2good 2b forgotten]”, remembered always, or that we would be friends forever. Yet, with the exception of some I also went to church with, I have no more close contact. I have been reacquainted with some through Facebook, I am not close to them like I was in school. These were people that I spent years of my life with but we pursued different paths in life and grew away from one another. This is an extremely common experience which should encourage us not to sacrifice our values to impress our friends at school because they will probably have little place in our lives even a few months after we graduate.
Occasionally there are friends that mean so much in our lives. We endure much together and have great memories together. However, circumstances or distance may keep us apart. We are blessed with so much technology to stay in touch so maybe this will not be a regret that people continue to have. Even with the many ways to communicate, we must still make the effort to stay in touch with those that we love so that we may remain an important part of each other’s lives.
Value of Friends
The Bible speaks to the great value of friends. Proverbs tells us that a friend loves at all times (17:17) and that there are friends who are closer than relatives (18:24). According to Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 friends have good reward for the work they do together, can lift up the one who falls, and can protect one another. If one has more than one friends he is blessed with even more strength. Proverbs even encourages us to respect the friends of our parents who can be a strength to us and that friends can be more valuable than family at times, Proverbs 27:10.
Take time today to build up the relationships with your friends. Reach out to a friend you have not talked with in a long time to refresh the love between you. Those who are about to leave the earth regret that they do not have a close relationship with those who meant so much to them. As Ware observed, in the final stages of life you do not take comfort in your possessions, you are comforted with relationships.
Other posts in the Series:
Regret 1: I Sacrificed My Dreams to Please Others
Regret 2: Missed Much by Working Too Much
Regret 3: I Wanted the Courage to Express My Feelings
Regret 5: I Wish I Had Let Myself Be Happier