Parenthood
Doctor asks terminally-ill children what matters most in life
Children can be so wise. 🥺
Britanie Leclair
12.07.21

In today’s superficial and fast-paced society, it can be easy to lose track of the things that truly matter.

Too often, we hear stories of people devoting their entire lives to their careers only to reach their deathbed and regret not spending time with those that loved them. It’s way too easy to get distracted by status, appearances, and keeping up with the Jones’ that we tend to forget the real value of this little thing we call “life.”

Alistair McAlpine, a palliative pediatrician from Cape Town, South Africa, was sick of seeing negativity clouding his newsfeed, so he decided to share something inspiring instead.

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Twitter - Alistair McAlpine
Source:
Twitter - Alistair McAlpine

Working for the non-profit organization, PaedsPal, McAlpine spends every day caring for children with life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses.

Most recently, McAlpine decided to ask his terminally-ill patients what they enjoyed most in life and then shared their answers on Twitter.

In a tweet, he explained:

“For an assignment, I asked some of my terminal pediatric palliative care patients what they had enjoyed in life, and what gave it meaning. Kids can be so wise, y’know.”

What followed was a heartbreakingly wise and beautiful thread of reflection that reminded everybody to reconsider the way they’ve been spending their precious time.

McAlpine noted that none of the kids wished they had spent more time watching TV or cruising on Facebook.

Pixabay - Victoria_Borodinova
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Pixabay - Victoria_Borodinova

For many, animals played a large role in their lives.

The doctor quoted a few of their responses:

“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.”

Pixabay - IamFOSNA
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Pixabay - IamFOSNA

All of them loved being told stories— especially by their parents.

“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.”

StockSnap.io - Family First
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StockSnap.io - Family First

They thought the beach was a special place.

“I made big sandcastles!”

“Being in the sea with the waves was so exciting! My eyes didn’t even hurt!”

PIXNIO - Daiga Ellaby
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PIXNIO - Daiga Ellaby

They appreciated the people who never judged them.

“My real friends didn’t care when my hair fell out.”

“Jane came to visit after the surgery and didn’t even notice the scar!”

Pixabay - florentiabuckingham
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Pixabay - florentiabuckingham

And loved the ones with kindness and a sense of humor.

“My granny is so kind to me. She always makes me smile.”

“My daddy pulls funny faces which I just love!”

“Jonny gave me half his sandwich when I didn’t eat mine. That was nice.”

pxhere - stecy2001
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pxhere - stecy2001

Above all, family was the most important.

“Mum and dad are the best!”

“My sister always hugs me tight.”

“No one loves me like mummy loves me!”

Pixabay - 460273
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Pixabay - 460273

And they worried about how their parents would deal with their loss.

“Hope mum will be okay. 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.”

Pixababy - elementus
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Pixababy - elementus

At the end of his thread, Alistair left a take-home message for those reading:

“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.”

Hear the children’s wisdom in the video below.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Britanie Leclair
hi@sbly.com
Britanie Leclair is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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