He said to me, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry that I have been a bad person.”
I answered that he hadn’t been, that it was okay because he was so sick and that I understood.
He repeated, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I have not been a good person. I don’t wanna go like this.”
It took me a minute to determine what he was getting at as I continued to assure him that I understood. I asked him questions to make sure all of his faculties were intact: Do you know where you are? What’s the date today? Who’s the President of the US? He answered all of the questions correctly, and continued to apologize for being so awful.
“I have never been a good person,” he states. “I tried hard, but it just never felt as if I did enough, or if what I did made a difference. And now here I am, and I don’t think I’m gonna make it.”
It’s amazing how the feeling that you’re dying can cause one to confess. You don’t care to whom you confess to, just that you get it out before you go. Although most patients that I have encountered have not passed after confessing, I am sad to say that I have had a few that have.
I can’t say what exactly goes through one’s mind when they are in such a state that they feel as if they are going to die, or when they feel as if they just know that they are going to die. I know many who say that they will take certain secrets to their grave, never letting anyone know, but there are few that feel an urgent need to confess and tell someone, anyone who will listen to their deepest, darkest secrets as if keeping them inside will prevent them from getting to the Promised Land. As a nurse, I have been (un)fortunate to have heard a few.
From who they loved, or did not love enough. What they did, to what they should not have done. What they wish they had said, or didn’t say. Or just a wish to have their hand held because they are alone and don’t want to go while they are alone. It makes me wonder … what will you confess when you believe it’s your turn to meet your maker? Better yet … what will I confess when I believe that it’s my turn … ???
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