What Dr. B.J. Miller Knows for Sure About Deathbed Regrets

As the former executive director of the Zen Hospice Project, in San Francisco, Dr. B.J. Miller has helped patients face their deaths spiritually, empathetically and on their own terms. After bearing witness to hundreds of deathbed moments, he says, the most common regret of the dying is how they spent their time.

"Why did I spend so much time with this job I hated?" he says by way of example. "Why did I spend so much time married to that person I didn't really respect? ... And there's some real truth to that. And it all invariably has to do with time and how you spend, how you value, your time."

Yet, despite the "unavoidable" nature of regret, Dr. Miller has also come to realize that it can also "fade so nicely." Here, the hospice and palliative care specialist reveals the "salve" that counteracts regret, even—and especially—at the end of life.

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