"Kids can be so wise, y'know"
Dr Alastair McAlpine, from Cape Town, South Africa, works in children's palliative care.
He recently set himself a side project- to ask his patients what they like about their lives.
Their answers are as heart-wrenching as they are uplifting.
For an assignment, I asked some of my terminal paediatric palliative care patients what they had enjoyed in life, and what gave it meaning. Kids can be so wise, y'know. Here are some of the responses (Thread).— Alastair McAlpine (@AlastairMcA30) 1 February 2018
Firstly he notes that none of them wished that they'd spent more time watching TV, on Facebook, fighting or in hospital.
But what they do love, pets, their parents, will melt you.
MANY mentioned their pets:— Alastair McAlpine (@AlastairMcA30) 1 February 2018
'I love Rufus, his funny bark makes me laugh.'
'I love when Ginny snuggles up to me at night and purrs'
'I was happiest riding Jake on the beach.'
MANY mentioned their parents, often expressing worry or concern:— Alastair McAlpine (@AlastairMcA30) 1 February 2018
'Hope mum will be ok. She seems sad.'
'Dad mustn't worry. He'll see me again soon.'
'God will take care of my mum and dad when I'm gone'
ALL of them loved ice-cream.— Alastair McAlpine (@AlastairMcA30) 1 February 2018
ALL of them loved books or being told stories, especially by their parents:— Alastair McAlpine (@AlastairMcA30) 1 February 2018
'Harry Potter made me feel brave.'
'I love stories in space!'
'I want to be a great detective like Sherlock Holmes when I'm better!'
Folks, read to your kids! They love it. /5
Many of them loved swimming, and the beach.— Alastair McAlpine (@AlastairMcA30) 1 February 2018
'I made big sandcastles!'
'Being in the sea with the waves was so exciting! My eyes didn't even hurt!' /7
Almost ALL of them valued kindness above most other virtues:— Alastair McAlpine (@AlastairMcA30) 1 February 2018
'My granny is so kind to me. She always makes me smile.'
'Jonny gave me half his sandwich when I didn't eat mine. That was nice.'
'I like it when that kind nurse is here. She's gentle. And it hurts less' /8
Almost ALL of them loved people who made them laugh:— Alastair McAlpine (@AlastairMcA30) 1 February 2018
'That magician is so silly! His pants fell down and I couldn't stop laughing!'
'My daddy pulls funny faces which I just love!'
'The boy in the next bed farted! Hahaha!'
Laughter relieves pain. /9
Kids love their toys, and their superheroes.— Alastair McAlpine (@AlastairMcA30) 1 February 2018
'My Princess Sophia doll is my favourite!'
'I love Batman!' (All the boys love Batman)
'I like cuddling my teddy' /10
Finally, they ALL valued time with their family. Nothing was more important.— Alastair McAlpine (@AlastairMcA30) 1 February 2018
'Mum and dad are the best!'
'My sister always hugs me tight'
'No one loves me like mummy loves me!' /11
While talking to the children, McAlpine said many were worried about their parents, and hoping they wouldn't worry as much.
Many of the older children wished that they had spent less time worrying about what people thought about them.
One child even saying; “My real friends didn't care when my hair fell out.”
McAlpine summed up the entire process in one powerful reminder, be kind, read to your kids and eat ice-cream.
Take home message:— Alastair McAlpine (@AlastairMcA30) 1 February 2018
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.
Oh... and eat ice-cream. /End
Twitter users were touched by the thread, some even sharing their own stories of loss and how it helped them to reflect on their lives.
At first I felt sad reading this, but then sadness was replaced with a feeling of thankfulness. The words from these precious kids grounds us. A wake up call, a time to reflect, reminding us to keep it real and focus on the small things that bring great joy. Thanks for sharing Dr— Rebecca Bosworth (@RebeccaBoswort2) 9 February 2018
You brought me to tears. I have been wrestling with my heart that I didn't do enough for my daughter. She died 4 years ago at the age of 16 from rhabdomyosarcoma. Very horrible nasty disease. Thank you. Your words have been very comforting. God bless you.— Nash Hirani (@nashu08) 14 February 2018
I'm a father of three and couldn't hold back my tears, realising blessings of healthy children. God bless you for your work— Mohammad Malick (@MalickViews) 2 February 2018
We're in bits. Such a powerful reminder to appreciate your loved ones and the simple things in life.