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Why was I always such a brat? Why did I always fight her? And I never said 'I love you!' Now I'll never get to! Never!
— Eren, Attack on Titan (English Dub)
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A character has been Killed Off for Real. One of the survivors recalls the last conversation they had with the deceased, and wishes they had chosen their words more carefully. Maybe they said something hurtful, perhaps even wishing them harm and never got a chance to take it back. Maybe the conversation was about something mundane and trivial, and they wasted to opportunity to express their true feelings to the person. Whatever the case, they look back on the incident with regret.

Sometimes inverted where the dying person feels the regret. Related to Never Got to Say Goodbye and I Wished You Were Dead.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Parting Words Regret include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Fruits Basket Tohru regrets having overslept after an all-nighter and not saying "take care" before her mother Kyouko left, on the day Kyouko died in an accident.
  • In Bleach Orihime regretted not giving her brother and father figure Sora her usual fond farewell when he left for work on the day he died, because they had an argument earlier. When Sora came back as a Hollow and was defeated/purified by Ichigo and Rukia, Orihime took the chance to say farewell to his departing spirit.
  • In the dub of Digimon, Ken yelled at his older brother that he wished he'd disappear—said brother is then hit by a car.
  • In Attack on Titan, Eren has a big fight with his mother Carla right before she was killed by the Titans.
  • In My Hero Academia Kota forgot to apologize to Midoriya, and with the knowledge Midoriya is in danger, fears this trope will play out.

Comic Books

  • Victor Alvarez the second Powerman after Luke Cage gave up the name has this in his origin story. Victor's parents were getting ready to divorce, and Victor was upset that his dad wasn't trying harder to make the marriage work. Victor accused his father of not being strong enough to fight for his own family. When Victor saw how much his words hurt his dad, he immediately tried to apologize...and that's when the bombs Bullseye set in Hell's Kitchen exploded. Victor survived by somehow absorbing chi from the other victims, including one of Iron Fist's students but he could never forget his dad's wounded expression.
  • One Batman story had a flashback that showed eight year old Bruce getting angry at his parents for some reason and saying that he hated them. In an effort to cheer up Bruce, his parents took him to watch Zorro the very next night. Bruce was about to apologize to them on the way home right when they entered Crime Alley...

Fanwork

  • Soul Chess: "Look if you want to go and get yourself killed that's fine by me. Don't expect me to be at your funeral." -Shinji Hirako to Hiyori

Film

  • In the 2010 Karate Kid Mr. Han recalls he was arguing with his family before they died. He doesn't remember what it was about, but he hopes it was important.
  • In the first Spider-Man film Peter laments the argument he had with Uncle Ben, just hours before Uncle Ben gets shot.
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"I can't help thinking about...the last thing I said to him. He tried to tell me something important, and I threw it in his face."

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    • In particular, the very last thing he said to Uncle Ben before he was shot, was yelling at him to stop pretending to be his father... something which visibly upset Ben. This actually comes back at the end of the movie in a more redeeming way.
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Norman Osborn: I've been like a father to you... be a son to me now.
Peter: I have a father. His name was Ben Parker.

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Literature

  • In Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, after Harry and the Weasley children have a brush with Death Eaters, Mrs. Weasley mentions that she'd never forgive herself if Fred and George had died when the last time they'd talked she was chewing them out for their bad grades.

Live Action TV

  • In Burn Notice, Fiona and her sister had a fight before her sister was killed in a shooting and she's always regretted it. Her sister's death motivated her to join the IRA.
  • Inverted in How I Met Your Mother. After Marshall's dad dies, his family decides to have the funeral eulogies based around the last words he said to each of them. Marshall gets distressed because the last thing his dad said to him was that he should rent Crocodile Dundee 3, whereas everyone else has profound, meaningful moments to talk about.
    • But then it turns out there was a rather touching message waiting for Marshall on his voicemail... And he still goes with the Crocodile Dundee story when talking at the funeral.
  • An episode of Home Improvement has Jill telling her father that she was too sick for him to visit. He dies shortly thereafter, and the rest of the episode focuses on how Jill regrets lying to him.
  • In Criminal Minds, Elle's father died when she was eight and the last thing she said to him was "I hate you, Daddy!" (she was angry that he didn't have time to teach her to ride her bike). Years later, she still regrets this.
  • In the Cold Case episode Disco Inferno, the father of the murder victim the detectives investigate confesses to this, for the last words he said to his son, in reaction to said son's future life choice, were "I... renounce... you." The son died later that night.
    • In the episode "Shuffle, Ball Change", the victim and his brother got into a shoving match that resulted in the brother injuring his knee, possibly derailing his wrestling career. Their infuriated father told the victim, "God help you, Maurice". The boy disappeared soon afterwards, leaving the father thoroughly haunted by the thought that his son had run away from home thinking that his father hated him, and even more torn up when he learned that his son had in fact been murdered, and that either way, those were the last words that he said to him.
  • In That '70s Show, Red's mother dies as Eric is driving her home. Because she was being a heartless crow (like usual), no one had anything good to say about her, but were still heartbroken when she was gone.
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Red: I didn't say "I love you," or even "See you later." No, the last thing I said to her was "Show me tail lights."
Eric: ...Dad, the last thing I said to Grandma was "It wouldn't kill you to be nice once in a while." But I guess it did, because then she died.

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Music

  • The song "The Last Thing She Said" is all about this trope, except that the woman with regrets is actually the one in danger of dying.

New Media

  • It turns out the triloweasels in Conquering the Horizon are people. Evelyn killed one, Hsthressis, and ate her. Hsthressis and her mom had a fight before this.

Video Games

  • The World Ends With You: Eri regrets not being able to apologise to her friend Shiki before her death. Shiki, playing the Reaper's Game, was listening as Eri told someone about this
  • Late in one route of Blaze Union, Siskier and Jenon playfully make fun of each other while rescuing Dude in Distress King Ordene before splitting up in hopes of getting him out of danger faster, culminating in Siskier calling Jenon an idiot. Jenon winds up gravely injured, then falling into and being washed away by the castle waterways. Siskier discusses this with protagonist Garlot while the two are trying to find Jenon later on.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening has Severa, who in her past aka the Bad Future had a huge fight with her mother Cordelia upon both thinking her mom didn't really love her dad, and fearing that she'd die in battle. Which is exactly what happened the day after.

Webcomics

  • Discussed in this Xkcd comic.
  • In Get Medieval, Asher spends the whole story arc regretting that his last words to his girlfriend before ending up stranded on medieval Earth were to tell her to buy cat food.
  • In this Buttersafe comic, a sailor realizes ahead of time that this is the last time he'll ever see Claire, and somehow he still manages to screw up his goodbye.

Western Animation

  • In The Simpsons episode "Alone Again, Natura-Diddily", Ned Flanders regrets that the last thing he said to Maude was "No footlongs."
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    • Implied with Homer and his mother Mona. During Mona's final appearance, "Mona Leaves-a", Homer blew up at Mona for never being there for him and putting her various agendas ahead of him. Later that night, Homer cooled down and made an apology card for her. Only to find that she died sometime in the night.
    • In the episode "Dog of Death," the family gets mad at Santa's Little Helper over the financial cutbacks they had to make to pay for his surgery. That night, SLH runs away when they forget to close the gate, and Bart tearfully blames himself:
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"It's my fault. I called him a dumb dog!"

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  • In Gargoyles, after Demona (apparently) sacrifices herself to save Angela, the daughter she had just recently met, Angela immediately regrets that the last thing she said to her was that she hated her.
  • In Batman Beyond, Terry bitterly regrets his last conversation with his father:
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"I yelled at him, Mom. He grounded me and I wouldn't listen. The things I said--!"

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  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold has Bruce himself being bratty on Christmas Morning after getting his father's nutcracker solider instead of a "Swashbuckler" toy. His parents bring him to the "Swashbuckler" movie and he still refuses to lighten up. Doesn't take a genius to think of what happens next...
  • Implied to be the case with the Great Diamond Authority in Steven Universe, Blue Diamond in particular. Pink Diamond begged her sisters for help with the colony and the Crystal Gem rebellion and Blue and Yellow just told her to fall into line and handle it, dismissing anything Pink said. Then Pink was shattered by the Crystal Gems. Granted Pink was also leading the Crystal Gems and staged the whole thing but by the time White, Yellow and Blue knew this and pulled a Heel Face Turn, they'd lost the chance to apologize to their fourth for how they treated her.
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