Dr. CK Bray
Inmates' Last Words
Updated: Sep 18, 2020
The New York Times published an article on the last words of inmates on death row before their executions. I was immediately intrigued because in grad school I spent a semester studying the final statements and wishes of individuals of all ages before they passed away, and I wondered if there was a difference in what they said. I thought I would share the inmate’s words, as reading them provided me with meaningful insights.
INMATES’ LAST STATEMENTS:
Nothing I can say can change the past.
I want to ask if it is in your heart to forgive me. You don’t have to.
I wish I could die more than once to tell you how sorry I am.
I want you to understand something, hold no animosity toward me. I want you to understand. Please forgive me.
I don’t think the world will be a better or safer place without me.
I want to tell my mom that I love her. I caused her so much pain and my family and stuff. I hurt for the fact that they are going to be hurting.
Kick the tires and light the fire. I am going home.
Cathy, you know I never meant to hurt you.
Let my son know I love him.
Tell everyone I got full-on chicken and pork chops.
Mistakes are made, but with God, all things are possible.
I am responsible for them losing their mother, their father, and their grandmother. I never meant for them to be taken. I am sorry for what I did. I can’t take it back.
I am tired.
I deserve this.
FINAL STATEMENTS OF DYING INDIVIDUALS
Most end of life or final conversations are nonverbal due to a lack of strength to hold longer conversations. When they do speak, it will often be a whisper, and the individual will speak brief single words. The most frequently spoken words are:
“I love you”
“Mommy” or “Mama”
A family member’s name
“Hold my hand”
TOP 5 REGRETS OF THE DYING
I wish I would have had the courage to live the life I wanted.
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
I wish I would have expressed my feelings more.
I wish I had stayed in touch with friends.
I wish that I had let myself be happier.
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