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Living Your Values

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A Nurse Discovers That Most of Us Don’t Know Which Values Matter Most to Our Parents — or Even OurselvesWhen my mother was dying and we both knew the end was near, we talked late at night after my father had gone to bed. Although reticent in nature, my mother had no reason to hold back anymore, and she asked me to compose a note to be handed out at her funeral. This message would express her parting thoughts; what she most wanted family and friends to remember about her.I’m a nurse; as a profession we learn to develop the art of listening. Nurses create a shared, safe place where people can utter their most personal thoughts without worry of being judged. So as my mother spoke, I captured in writing the way in which she wanted to be remembered by generations to follow.Our conversation was her version of her life, and her memories were sweet. She expressed how grateful she was for all the opportunities she’d had in life. She laughed as she told of times when she was mischievous, times I knew nothing about. As she looked back, the way in which she remembered transformed her hard times into days that were …

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