Regrets of the Dying ★★★★★
Regrets of the Dying is a podcast about what people think about at the end of their lives. Far from gloomy, it evokes many sentiments: peacefulness, reflection, closure, and overwhelming love.
Host Georgina Scull conceived of the idea after suffering a personal tragedy that left her on death’s door a few years ago. She set out in search of what others had experienced, or were currently experiencing, in those last moments of theirs or a loved one’s life; ultimately she recorded the stories and it became this short series.
The individual reaction to this show may be linked to fear of death; many Americans are afraid of aging and death but elsewhere in the world the attitude about death is typically more pragmatic. I’m not personally afraid of death, and while I hope to live to see my young kids grow into happy adults, I don’t live with much regret, and I accept my mortality. Therefore, my filter as I listen to a show like this helps illuminate the overtones of hope and love.
The last three minutes of “Katie” are incredible: a dying, very young wife and mother shares her deepest wishes for those she’s leaving behind. Can you imagine coherently putting a goodbye message together for your family to have on audio or video forever? Much of the episode consists of an actor reading Katie’s journal entries about her progression through bowel cancer, but at the end we get to hear Katie’s actual voice. The windows to Katie’s soul are wide open and the listener is privileged to get a glimpse inside.
Heart-wrenching episodes are balanced out by storytellers who have accompanied those approaching death and found peace and hope in the time thereafter, and even in celebrating life and death. Heather is a mother who assisted her son’s suicide as he was terminally ill and in tremendous pain. She felt it was a privilege to be able to give her love to him in that way at the time he needed her mothering the most. Regrets of the Dying’s final guest, Simon, has terminal cancer himself but insists he has no regrets because he’s living and has lived a good life. It’s a lovely place to end the series after a well thought-out arc.
Episode lengths range quite a bit – there is one episode in this eight-part series that clocks in at under two minutes and another that is 52 minutes long. The production value is excellent due to the pacing and sound design; there is just enough background music at the right moments and it blends very well.
Regrets of the Dying is a beautiful, well-produced series that I simply did not want to end. I’m thrilled to have discovered this gem and so appreciate that all of the people profiled were willing to share such deep reflections on regret, hope, and the finality of death and not leave me an emotional wreck. Congratulations to host Gina Scull – you’ve made one fine piece of work.
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Audible Feast Ratings
Educational Value (4 / 5)
Pop Culture Value (4 / 5)
Host Listen-ability (5 / 5)
Scull’s voice is lovely and there is just enough of it in a show where most content is stories told by others. I could listen to her voice all day.
Flow & Production Value (5 / 5)
I can tell that Scull took a lot of time to craft this show and especially that she was thoughtful about the overall story arc. The sound is overall very good and pacing is perfect.
Humor (2 / 5)
Investigation (5 / 5)
Storytelling (5 / 5)
The varied show lengths really added a lot for me in terms of the total storytelling package; sometimes I want consistency and expected content, but in this show it really works that the episodes are different lengths. It allowed each person to share their regrets in their own time and at their own pace, which parallels grief.
Makes Me a Better Person (5 / 5)
Overall Audible Feast Rating: (5 / 5)
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