When a children’s doctor asked terminally ill kids’ advice on living a full life, the answers he got were priceless. Cape Town pediatrician Alastair McAlpine recently tweeted about how he asked some of his terminally ill pediatric palliative care patients about what they had enjoyed in their lives. He also asked what gave life meaning. McAlpine didn’t just post the question he posed, he also added the responses he got. So grab a box of tissues and get ready for some sage advice from these completely awesome kiddos.
To start with, McAlpine included what the kids did not say. When answering his question not one of them said that they wish they would have watched more television, spent more time on FB, enjoyed fighting (with other people) or enjoyed the hospital.
What did they enjoy? Well, plenty mentioned their fluffy and furry friends. McAlpine tweeted these responses, “I love Rufus, his funny bark makes me laugh”, “I love when Ginny snuggles up to me at night and purrs” and, “I was the happiest riding Jake on the beach.”
While the puppy and kitty posts were cute, some were much deeper. McAlpine tweeted that many patients mentioned their parents with statements such as, “Hope mum will be ok. She seems sad” and, “Dad mustn’t worry. He’ll see me again soon.”
In the advice we should all take category, McAlpine wrote, “MANY wished they had spent less time worrying about what others thought of them, and valued people who just treated them ‘normally’.”
Summing it up for us McAlpine makes the poignant point, “Take home message: be kind. Read more books. Spend time with your family. Crack jokes. Go to the beach. Hug your dog. Tell that special person you love them. These are the things these kids wished they could’ve done more. The rest is details.” And if you can’t stop sobbing right now, the doc ends on a positive note, writing, “Oh…and eat ice-cream.”
What do you enjoy most in life? Share your thoughts in the comments below. —Erica Loop