Five Things To Say Before You Die

December 05, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, my dental hygienist told me that cancer is a blessing.  “Cancer is a blessing.”  Just like that.  It took me a while to figure out that she was trying to say that cancer is a blessing because it gives people time to resolve things and organize their affairs, rather than a sudden illness or other event which would not give someone time to wrap things up.

Knowing you have a terminal illness can certainly give you the impetus to get things in order; to right the wrongs and to say the important words to the important people. However, as my friend Luci says, we all have a terminal illness called “life” and we should not wait for the final days to resolve the unresolved.

This article by Bronnie Ware is about her experiences with patients in palliative care and lists the most common “Regrets of the Dying”.  Note that the third most common regret is “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”

Luckily, the Five Things To Say Before You Die are easy words that we all know.

  1. I love you.
  2. Thank you.
  3. Forgive me.
  4. I’m sorry.
  5. I forgive you.

Say them now. Use them freely. Resolve the unresolved. Do not wait for the last second or it may pass you by.

The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and for deeds left undone.

Harriet Beecher StoweLittle Foxes, 1865

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