I have spent a fair bit of time in the world of dying, death, and grief and have learned many things about living, life, and happiness. This is one of the primary reasons I am so intent on bringing death back to life – so we can all learn from the lives of those who die before us.
Most people facing death, or actively dying, undergo a very natural process of life review. A process we are not well trained to undertake. For many of us we carry regrets tucked neatly into the ‘secret’ compartment of our hearts, and as death comes knocking these locked up regrets start to shake loose from our heart’s grip.
We sometimes consciously, but most often with out much preparation or planning, go through this sort of life inventory. We wonder in the privacy of our own thoughts about many things, but most often those things we regret pop into our consciousness for a good look-see. When these regrets are pondered and felt by the one dying they are indeed heart wrenching especially given there is precious little time left to attend to them.
However, for those of us fortunate to be bearing witness to these deathbed regrets we do have the luxury of time. And though sad for our dying loved ones, we can with respect and gratitude turn their regrets into wonderful life lessons for our own benefit – a kind of generous gift from the dying to the living. In order to honor our loved ones’ generosity in this way it is incumbent upon us to put these powerful life lesson straight to work. It is a genuine and profound way to remember them.
This gifting idea is not at all intended to minimize the loss of a loved one, nor to dull or numb the sadness we all feel. More, these ‘gifts’ are intend to em-power (emotionally power) us to live our lives even more fully so when we are in fact on our own deathbed we die with gratitude and a wink – the wink is for our loved one who generously shared their life lessons with us so we could die happy.
So, I have taken the liberty to turn the most common deathbed regrets into The Nine Habits of People Who Die Happy.
These are habits I am actively applying in my own life. I encourage you to do the same. They are in no particular order – that is for you to rank and prioritize. Personally, I would put them in an order that my heart feels would result in a happy death. I have written them in past tense as if I were lying on my deathbed explaining to you how I could die so happily.
The Nine Habits of People Who Die Happy
- I paid attention to my inner voice and did my best to follow my heart’s calling.
- I found a happy balance between working & doing and relaxing & playing.
- I created friend and couple dates to ensure I made time to be with those close to me.
- I said I love to my loved ones often and especially when I didn’t feel they deserved it.
- I was bold and spoke my mind even when it was difficult.
- I faced challenging conflicts head on and did my best to resolve them compassionately.
- I was responsible with money, planned for the future, and balanced my checkbook.
- I was courageous and faithfully lived my life based on my own truth.
- I realized happiness was a choice and chose it.
I am in the midst of creating a handy kit of these nine habits and will get it out to you all in one of the following posts of We Can Die Better.