Sunday, August 29, 2010


Insty linked to a post by a palliative care nurse about the regrets people expressed at the end of their days. The first one, "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me," put me in mind of Screwtape's directions to Wormwood " that at last he may say, as one of my own patients said on his arrival down here (Hell), 'I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked' ".


Texan99 said...

What a wonderful post.

Donna B. said...

I thought the post was atrocious, especially this part:

"When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again."

I think my answer would have been "I regret hiring such a Debbie Downer type as you for a palliative care nurse."

Retriever said...

I was staggered by what people supposedly said. I was a hospital chaplain with dying people for a year (thereafter with kids) and spent lots of time with sick and dying relatives and parishioners after that, and I don't think I EVER heard anyone regret doing the right thing, or meeting their responsibilities. What the palliative care nurse heard was probably just what she wanted to hear because of watered down Joseph Campbell follow your bliss. I believe that happines is absolutel not the goal of life, but something we discover accidentally, or in the process of loving others, doing a job, helping others, or facing danger or struggling to overcome some weakness. Hedonism is like cotton candy: a poor nutrition for life.

Most women would say that the greatest joy in their lives was the moment they first held each of their children in their arms, but that moment came right after incredible agony and exertion and almost giving up. It is the things we just barely make it through that often mean the most. Not the easy path.

Perhaps I am just making a virtue out of necessity. I often envy the sappy couple in Annie Hall whom Woody Allen asks "You look happy, what's your secret..." "Oh, I'm just shallow and superficiel...and so am I"