Heather White

Life Story Recorder, Family Echoes


This conversation is closed.

What are your biggest successes or regrets about your life? Where would you want your life to end - home, hospital, hospice?

Like many aspects of life, death has become professionalised in the west. Most people in the UK die in hospitals or hospices.

Dr Peter Saul, in his TED talk "Lets talk about dying" thinks death is still a taboo subject. Worth watching!

So now's your change to think about this big question that faces us all -

Where would you want to spend your last days?
What do you consider to be your best life achievements?
In the event that you became too sick to express your wishes, who would you want to talk on your behalf?
Have you discussed this issue, and your wishes, with this person?
Have you made a Living Will?

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    May 24 2014: Heather,

    You raised issues that every adult, especially those who are in their sunset years, must seriously think about. Brave questions demand honest answers.

    Three weeks ago I was in an ER due to atrial fibrilllation. I thought it was the end of me, the first time I came close to dying. I finally realized that if I have complete control of my situation, I want to say bye to my loved ones at home. No matter how nice the doctors and nurses are, hospital is not the best place to take your last breath.

    Regrets? I have a few. I should have been more cautious on some things and more bold and decisive on some other things. I should have spent a little less time in the office, visited more fascinating places and met more interesting people. We are always wiser in hindsight. I wish the "Freak" and Malcolm Gladwell books were available when I was younger. They would have added more sense in my thinking.

    Successes? I have a few. I wish I have more!

    When we're young, we put more premium on being intelligent and looking good. We invest more on things that we can see and touch. We judge things by their cover. As we grow older, we gradually ease from the material to the non-material. Things without price tags - beautiful sunsets, fragrant flowers, enlightening conversations, and matters of the heart and soul become priceless. Perhaps, this is the natural progression of human existence.

    How can you turn the hands of time?

    I shed a few tears while answering your questions. Thank you, Heather. Thank you everyone on TED. Wish you the best of things to come ...
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      May 27 2014: Rodrigo,
      Thanks so much for your participation. I'm sorry you've been ill recently. I hope you're back home with your family and friends.

      I've just read a book about the most common regrets of the dying - not working so much was the second most common regret, so I guess your're not alone in that.
      The top 5 regrets were:

      1) living life true to themselves
      2) working less
      3) expressing feelings more
      4) staying in touch with friends
      5) allowing themselves to be happier in life.

      I totally agree with you - as we age we shift from the material to the non-material. I do think it's a natural shift that almost everyone makes. It's the way we should evolve through time. It's the reason I think our elders have so much to offer us, as regards advice and wisdom.

      Thank you again, and I wish you well.
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        May 27 2014: Thank you, Heather. I wish you health and happiness as well.

  • Gail G3

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    May 27 2014: My last days? I would rather die in my sleep in my own home - while I am healthy enough to take care of myself

    My best achievement? Waking up - finding that another whole world exists but I had not been able to see it because I wasn't paying attention and my beliefs were confused and contradicting. This opened up all new horizons for me. (My greatest regret: Not realizing this new world existed for too many years)

    I have advance medical directives and a Living Will. Yes, my husband is very clear about my unwillingness to continue living if I suffer a traumatic brain injury that leaves my mind broken (among other things). So is my back-up fiduciary.
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      May 27 2014: Well done for having a Living Will. Have you watched Dr Peter Saul's TED Talk? It's amazing how few of us have made these precautions.

      Thanks for participating and I wish you well.
  • Tiff H.

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    May 25 2014: My biggest success is to able to transfer to CSUN this summer.
    My biggest regrets are many things.
    I was born hard-hearing and half deaf. When I enter to school, I got played, teased, named and bullied. I never had a good memories of going school. Age 13, I developed my bipolar depression, I started get into troubles. There are times, I wanna to hurt myself or commit suicide. Look at me now, I am in college soon to finish college and begin first year to university, I had to let go all my hurts and pains. Here I am standing happy because my life got better.
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      May 27 2014: This is inspiring! You've had to overcome significant difficulties - hear-hearing, being bullied and suffering from depression - you are amazingly strong to overcome these. I wish you every success.
  • May 23 2014: So this is what it's down to, people come here to gather information to: a) complete their homework for school b) add content to their business website c) gather information to publish a book or document d) social and anti-social activities...... Does this conversation fit any of these categories?

    I come here to learn and share what I have learned, that's all. I was going to share my experience but afterwards I would have to go take a shower because I would feel dirty like I had just been raped for some else's gratification.
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    R H

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    May 23 2014: thank you for asking this interesting consideration. But I must say, just like preparing to give your first speech to an auditorium full of people, or practicing for your first major recital, or preparing for an interview for the job of your life, we can never know how we'll view our preparations until we get there. But I'll give it a go - I have no regrets. I always did the best I could with what I had to work with. I don't think about who I hurt, what I missed, or what others accomplished. I don't think about who I helped, what I had, or what I accomplished. Because what's done is done, and I did my best. That's all there is for me. Regarding my last days, I would want to be with my lover, communing with the universe through their touch, bridging this world with the eternal, readying for the face of God.
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      May 23 2014: Thank you RH, that's lovely. Yes, I totally agree that we will never really know until our time comes, but it is interesting to project forwards to consider what we may like.

      You appear to "go with the flow" in life, and have few or no regrets. I guess you're quite a relaxed person, and probably quite contented as well.

      Your wish for your end sounds perfect.
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        R H

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        May 23 2014: Hardly. Just pragmatic. What's the alternative? Worry? Regret? Unabashed pride? Why do we look in the mirror to 'like what we see'? We've already chosen the image. Thanks anyway for your kind words.