A character has died. Or has left. Either way, they've been separated. One of their loved ones recalls the last conversation they had with the person 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 the opportunity to express their true feelings to the person. Whatever the case, they look back on the incident with regret.
Sometimes inverted where a dying person feels the regret. Related to Never Got to Say Goodbye and I Wished You Were Dead, and occasionally overlaps with Distracted from Death. This is a Death Trope, so expect spoilers.
- In Fruits Basket, Tohru regrets not saying "take care" before her mother left on the day she died. She had pulled an all-nighter for a test and simply couldn't wake up when Kyouko went to work... There's the implication that she feels responsible for her death. She said it every day, except for the day her mom died...
- In Bleach, Orihime regretted not giving her brother 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.
Orihime: Brother... Have a nice day!
- In Digimon Adventure 02, a very young Ken Ichijouji yelled at his older brother Osamu that he wished he'd disappear. The same day, Osamu was hit by a car...
- In Attack on Titan, shortly before Wall Maria is breached and the Titans enter his hometown, Eren has an argument with his mother Carla about wanting to join the Survey Corps. Minutes later, he is forced not just to flee, but to leave the seriously injured Carla behind to be devoured by a Titan lest they would all perish. He bitterly regrets spending his final moments with Carla having a foolish argument, while furiously vowing to eradicate the Titans. Later, it is revealed Keith Shadis had been in love with Carla, and just like Eren, he deeply regrets that he lost his temper and insulted her the last time he spoke to her before her death.
- Elfen Lied: Kohta's last words to his little sister Kanae were a threat that he'd "hate her forever" unless she apologized to his friend Lucy, who Kanae had just accused of murdering people at the festival they were at. He then sees her bifurcated in front of him... by Lucy herself. He shows clear regret in present times for fighting with her just before she died... although the trauma of witnessing such a thing resulted in repressed memories, so he's convinced himself for much of the series that his little sister actually died of a long illness, and feels regret for not being nicer to her in general.
- In Your Lie in April, Kousei's last words to his abusive and ill mother were that he wanted her dead. His guilt over it is an important part of the trauma that keeps him from playing the piano.
- In Subaru, it gets played with. Subaru gets into a fight with her mother and yells that she wishes her sick brother wasn't there anymore, whose condition turns critical shortly after. She is filled with guilt and realizes she can't simply apologize because Kazuma cannot understand words anymore, which was why she was dancing events to him as a form of communication. Then Mana teaches her how to dance sorrow and asking for forgiveness, but Kazuma ends up dead before Subaru can show him.
- A variation occurs in Yakitate!! Japan, where Pierrot spends a few moments ranting about his parents, who had abandoned him as a baby while drinking with the King of Monaco, not realizing that the King is his father. When he finally realized that he was essentially insulting his father in his face, the latter passed away before he could apologize. Made even worse when Pierrot found out that Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You and that his father died a Heroic Sacrifice to save his life.
- Implied in Tokyo Ghoul: in their last conversation, Touka got into a fist-fight with Kaneki and concluded by calling him "trash" and telling him not to come back to Anteiku. Soon afterwards, Anteiku is raided by CCG and Kaneki is defeated by Arima, with his ultimate fate ambiguous.
- In The Legend of Snow White, the youngest dwarf Jolly, who has an unrequited crush on Snow White, goes through this at Snow White's first Disney Death. He had been sulking and snapping at her all day because he was jealous of her love for Prince Richard and worse, it was his going off into the forest in anger, and his fellow dwarf Vet going to look for him, that left Snow White alone and led to her taking the wicked queen's poisoned ribbon.
- In Pokémon Sun and Moon, Mallow has heavy regret that the last exchange she had with her ill mother before she died when she was younger was yelling that she hated her for apologizing for not being there for her. When given a chance to meet up with her spirit, all those bottled feelings spill out as her mom gently forgives her and encourages them both to turn the regret into gratitude for being there when she was alive.
- My Roommate is a Cat; Subaru's parents would often invite him on vacations and trips, which he would reject as frivolous. After they're killed in a bus accident Subaru finds some of his mother's notes, highlighting a number of locales that Subaru might enjoy visiting (such as the childhood home of one of his favorite authors or a few old houses he could use for set pieces for his novels). This causes Subaru to realize how much his parents loved him and how poorly he treated them, causing him to break down and cry.
- 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.
- Gideon Wilson of the Gamma Corps in World War Hulk. His son, Jim, told him he was leaving school, they had an argument, it came to blows, Jim told him he was going to New Mexico and they'd never see each other again... and days later Gideon saw a news broadcast warning that the Hulk was rampaging through New Mexico. note
- One Batman story had a flashback that showed 8-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...
- Inverted in Runaways with Gertrude Yorkes' death. Chase Stein was about to be sacrificed to the Gibborim by Geoffrey Wilder when Gert showed up and bluntly informed Wilder that Chase was a selfish, cheating bastard whose death was unlikely to earn Wilder any points with the Gibborim. So Wilder killed Gert instead, and Chase was left wondering if Gert truly meant what she'd said.
- In pre-New 52 continuity, the last words of Slade Wilson's oldest friend and Battle Butler Wintergreen when Slade who was possessed by a maddened Jericho at the time though Wintergreen didn't know that murdered him were "well, I suppose it was only a matter of time." After being freed of Jericho, Slade was haunted by those words, realizing that his closest friend genuinely expected Slade to murder him someday.
- The Punisher MAX series (which puts a lot more emphasis on the Punishers broken mental state than most incarnations) reveals that Frank Castle's last words to his wife were "I'm leaving.... The guilt of those parting words is partially why Castle launched his crusade, rather than just pure revenge; he wants to punish himself most of all.
- In Power Girl story A Force of Four, Kara is feeling guilty because she was always snapping at her cousin and never, ever told him she loved her before his death.
She wondered if Kal ever forgave her for never telling him she had loved him, despite it all, like a second father. She wondered if she would ever forgive herself for not doing that.
- 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
- In the Katawa Shoujo fic Second Beats, Hanako is implied to have faced this fear when Hisao suffers a heart attack immediately after the events of her bad ending, in which she tells him she hates him for pitying her.
- In the Gensokyo 20XX Series, we have this a couple of times. In 20XXI, we have it where Eirin commits suicide and the other characters wishing they didn't treat her as badly, with Ran explicitly wishing she didn't say what she said to her. Later in 20XXV, we have it where Yume Ni dies of illness, in the aftermath Chen's "Reason You Suck" Speech, leaving the latter very upset and wishing she could have taken it back and never let that be the last thing she's said to her.
Chen: The last thing I said to her wasn't "I love you" or anything to the effect, the last thing I had said to her was so scathing that it had broken her will and I wish I could take it back.
- From Kill la Kill AU, A Broken Heart, an Untold Story, and a Sister's Regret, Nui and Satsuki have a fight while Ryuuko (who's narrating) was asleep and it ends with a guilt-ridden Satsuki running away. From what is made clear later, it had something to do with the fact Ragyou almost died giving birth to Satsuki, something in which she regrets later, especially when she actually learns to truth about what happened at the time her sister was born and when she has this pointed out to her, leading to her to go to Sagamihara to look for her, which lands her in the hospital for injuries. However, this is subverted in that Satsuki doesn't die, actually, she is just fine, as she had just run away.
Ryuuko (to Nui): You had better watch what you say to people 'cause it could be the last thing they've heard! If we don't find Sats and or get a call from the morgue, then she will have died remembering what you've said to her!
- Blood and Spirit: As revealed in a flashback, the last thing Terminus ever said to Hylia before she cast off her divinity was a condemnation of her decision to become a mortal for the sake of being reborn alongside her chosen hero as foolish. She only comes to truly understand why Hylia did so after losing her own hero, whom she had fallen in love with, to Majora, and regrets her final words to her sister to this day.
- In Guardian, Lulu snaps at Yuna just before departing on her second pilgrimage—as her sole intention was to save Yuna from going on one herself, and Yuna was too eager to listen to Lulu's patient explanations for why she couldn't join her. Lulu is instantly aware of this and says on the next page that her last goodbye to her sister-figure may have been to yell at her.
- In the backstory of Return to Konoha, a 9-year-old Naruto and his twin sister Kairi got into an argument about how Minato banned Naruto from becoming a ninja for his own safety. After Naruto calls Kairi a whore (he didn't know what it meant, only that it was the worst thing you can call a girl), Kairi decides to reveal to her brother that the reason everybody hates him is that he is the container of the Kyuubi; and while she does feel vindicated for a moment, she soon regrets it because a) she promised her father she would keep it a secret, and b) she just revealed it in front of several other children. While being punished, Kairi resolves to apologize to her brother as soon as possible, but she doesn't get the chance to when Naruto runs away the next day.
- In Ambience: A Fleet Symphony, after learning that her physical appearance was done as a Replacement Goldfish for The Lost Lenore, Hatsuyuki called her head developer creepy and pathetic. This was the last time they ever saw each other, and in the present day she wishes they could have parted more amiably.
- As we already know The Outside, Ragyo and Soichiro had a fight and the former left, however, as we find out, the fight was about Soichiro encouraging Satsuki to go outside and she has a near-fatal asthma attack. Years later, Ragyo expresses that she blamed him for it and wishes they could have made amends.
- To Hell and Back (Arrowverse): During an argument, Joe West, in the heat of the moment, calls his foster son Barry Allen "crazy". He immediately regretted it and tried to take it back, but the damage was done; it pushed Barry to go study abroad in China, which led to his ten-year disappearance and presumed death. Joe's guilt over it was only amplified when Iris blamed him for what happened, estranging them — those words ultimately cost him both his children.
- In The Assassination of Twilight Sparkle Twilight had recommended to Spitfire not allow Rainbow Dash into the Wonderbolts for at least 7 months due to her Hair-Trigger Temper, in order to allow Rainbow to learn to control herself. Needless to say, Rainbow is not happy about this and tells Twilight in an argument between them and tells Twilight that she hates her. Unfortunately, before Rainbow could apologize to Twilight, she was assassinated. Rainbow becomes an alcoholic out of regret that she said those final words to her and can't take it back.
- Pony Gear Solid starts with a real nasty fight between Applejack and Apple Bloom, with the latter telling the former she wished she was dead before sneaking out in the middle of the night and running away from home. Sometime later, Apple Bloom is abducted by Trenton, and Applejack tries to save her alongside her friends. Suffice to say, they end up on the wrong end of a Curb-Stomp Battle and Applejack takes a bad enough hit that Apple Bloom thinks Trenton killed her. Thankfully, she was only stunned temporarily, and the sisters reconcile later on, but for a while poor Apple Bloom thought that the last thing she told Applejack was that she wished she was dead... and that her wish came true.
- In Unexpected Surprise, Ladybug has a very emotional breakup with Chat Noir due to her still having feelings for another boy. When, a few days later, she cools off and tries to find him and apologize, he is nowhere to be found. Neither is Adrien, who went to America in order to give his Lady a chance with the other boy. It isn't until six years later that the matter is finally resolved.
- Their Bond: After Zelda's father dies of a heart attack (or so it seems), Zelda suffers from this. It blindsided her that her last conversation with her father had revolved around her anger over a corset. For the last several days Zelda had been mad at her father Daphnes because he was trying to marry her off. In hindsight, she finds it petty.
- In The Merry Go Round Broke Down, Buzz was mysteriously deleted while filming Toy Story 3. Woody regrets being angry at Buzz, saying he "was too buzz-brained to read his golldarn script", and not being able to apologize for the incident.
- In Security!, Victoria has just blown up at Amy and hurt Mike at Taylor's birthday party because she heard that Mike advised Amy to take some time away from Victoria and her aura and get readopted by the Heberts, and flies away in fury. The next moment, Zion blasts apart the Heberts' house, and Victoria is stricken with guilt (though the occupants managed to escape just in time).
- It's Over, Isn't It (it's only just begun): On the day that Toshinori left to fight what proved to be his Final Battle, he and Inko exchanged 'I Love You's. Thus, she counts herself lucky that she's not suffering from this. Sir Nighteye, on the other hand, is guiltstricken over how he interrupted Toshinori's attempt to pass on some last words by ordering him to "Tell them yourself!" Since he wasn't able to, Nighteye fears that he robbed them of whatever Toshinori meant to say.
- Our Hero follows the Fandom-Specific Plot of the rest of Class 1-A learning about how Bakugou bullied Midoriya throughout their childhoods. Everyone shuns him as a result, with Kirishima being the only one to reach out and get his side of things. Ashido is especially furious with him, before a sudden disaster strikes during an outing and the two of them go missing, leaving everyone facing the very real possibility of Bakugou and/or Ashido dying before they can be found in the wreckage.
- Mitsuki faces the same fear, as the last time she spoke to her son was a vicious argument over the phone where she told him to throw himself into traffic. When she finds out about the situation, she's completely blindsided.
- The entirety of Finding Nemo is based on this: Marlin travels halfway around the world to save his son after he's captured by divers because he doesn't want the last thing Nemo says to him to be "I hate you."
- In Finding Dory, he makes the same mistake by telling Dory to "Go over there and just forget! It's what you do best!" after her obliviousness nearly gets Nemo killed by a huge squid, at which point she's captured and taken to the Marine Life Institute, a fact that Nemo makes sure Marlin doesn't forget.
- Ice Age 4: Continental Drift: After her father embarrasses her in front of all the teen mammoths, Peaches furiously states to Manny "I wish you weren't my father!". Shortly afterwards, the continent plates divide and separate Manny, Sid, and Diego away from Ellie and Peaches. As the iceberg holding her father drifts into the distance, Peaches sobs and blames herself for getting separated from her father since the last thing they did was argue.
Manny: STAY ALIVE! No matter how long it takes, I WILL FIND YOU!
Peaches: (sobbing) Mom, this is all my fault! If I had just—
Ellie: Peaches! This is not your fault, okay?
Peaches: What if I never see him again? And the last thing we did was fight!
Ellie: Hey, your father is the toughest, most stubborn mammoth I've ever met! He'll come back for us. (wraps her trunk around Peaches) That's a promise.
- A variant, seeing as no one dies, but in The Wild Thornberrys Movie, Eliza laments that the last thing she said to Darwin before her ability to talk to animals was taken away was "Darwin, for once in your life can you just stop talking!?"
- In Coco, Miguel tells his family that he wants nothing to do with them for hating music and runs away to be a musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. Later, he breaks down crying into Hector's arms over what he said, having realized he abandoned the people he loves to follow a murderous phony.
- Towards the end of All Dogs Go to Heaven, Charlie is accosted by his lifelong friend Itchy about spending too much time with Ann Marie and not enough time protecting themselves from their vengeful former partner Carface, resulting in his goons hunting Itchy down, roughing him up and burning down their casino. To get him off his back, Charlie yells at Itchy that they'll dump Ann Marie in an orphanage as soon as she's no longer useful to them...just as Ann Marie comes downstairs to hear the whole thing before she tells Charlie "You're not my friend. You're a bad dog!" and runs off, crying. This ends up being the last time either of them see him alive, as Charlie makes his Heroic Sacrifice for Ann Marie a few minutes later. However, he manages to come back briefly as a ghost to make peace and say goodbye to her before ascending to heaven. As Itchy is sleeping when he does so (and looks as though he'd cried himself to sleep), he decides to let sleeping dogs lie and spare his friend the trauma of seeing him as a ghost, even if it means their friendship ended on an argument.
- In The Karate Kid (2010), 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, the very last thing Peter does to Uncle Ben before he's shot is yell at him to stop pretending to be his father... something which visibly upset Ben. Peter later laments that the last exchange they had was an argument.
Peter Parker: 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.
- This comes back at the end of the movie in a more redeeming way.
Norman Osborn: I've been like a father to you... be a son to me now.
Peter Parker: I have a father. His name was Ben Parker.
- In The Amazing Spider-Man:
Uncle Ben: You're a lot like your father. You really are, Peter, and that's a good thing. But your father lived by a philosophy, a principle really. He believed that...that if you could do good things for other people, you had a moral obligation to do those things. That's what at stake here. Not a choice, responsibility.
Peter: That is nice. That's really...that's great. That's all well and good, so where is he?
Uncle Ben: What?
Peter: Where is he? Where's my dad? He didn't think it was his responsibility to be here and tell me this himself?
Uncle Ben: Oh, come on! How dare you?
Peter: How dare I? How dare you?!
- In the first Spider-Man film, the very last thing Peter does to Uncle Ben before he's shot is yell at him to stop pretending to be his father... something which visibly upset Ben. Peter later laments that the last exchange they had was an argument.
- In Upstream Color, a man is revealed to be constantly rehashing the last words he had with his wife before she lapsed into a coma. She was trying to reconcile, but he was angry and dismissive.
- In Forrest Gump, In Vietnam after Forrest carries a heavily wounded Bubba to safety.
Narration: If Id a known this was gonna be the last time me and Bubba was gonna talk, Id a thought of something better to say.
Forrest: Hey Bubba...
Bubba: Hey Forrest. Forrest, why'd this happen?
Forrest: You got shot.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- Thor: The Dark World: Loki tells Frigga that she's not really his mother. That is the last time he ever sees her. He doesn't even get an invitation to her funeral. It's slightly alleviated by the fact both of them know he doesn't mean any of it, but it still clearly tears him apart and it shows when Thor comes for him — Loki is a Mess of Woe and furniture in his room is torn to pieces.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron: Pietro Kill Steals Clint's robots and casually insults him, calling him a slow old man. Clint half-heartedly draws his bow in his general direction, muttering sarcastically "Nobody would know. Nobody. 'Last I saw him, an Ultron was sitting on him. Yeah, he'll be missed, that quick little bastard. I miss him already!'" Then at the climax, Clint prepares to use his body as a human shield in order to save an innocent child, only for Pietro to dive in front of both of them at the last second. The look in Clint's eyes says it all.
- Captain America: Civil War: Tony Stark is showing off a new invention that allows a person to relive old memories and change them however they want. He relives the memory of the last conversation he had with his father and makes a point of telling him that he loves him. After turning off the device, he tells his audience that he wishes that was how it had really happened.
- Avengers: Infinity War: The last words Thor says to Loki are that he is the worst brother. Shortly after that Loki attacks Thanos in an attempt to defend Thor, and the Mad Titan slowly strangles him to death. When Mantis later reads Thor's emotions, she lists tremendous guilt among other things.
- Jurassic Park III: When Dr. Grant discovers that Billy stole a set of Velociraptor eggs for the sake of funding their research, he gives him a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech, outright telling Billy that he's "no better than the people that built this place." Shortly afterwards, Billy pulls off a Heroic Sacrifice to save Eric from a flock of hungry Pteranodons, and Grant is shown regretting that that was the last thing he said to him.
- In Man of Steel, the last conversation between Clark and Jonathan was an argument, where Clark snapped that Jonathan wasn't his real father, just "some guy who found me in a field". To further twist the knife, Clark immediately regretted his heat-of-the-moment words and started to apologise - but never got to finish, as they were interrupted by the twister that claimed Jonathan's life. It's implied that his parting words weigh almost as heavily on Clark as his failure to save Jonathan. In the next movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Clark has a Dead Person Conversation with Jonathan, giving him some measure of closure.
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has a gut-wrenching example. The main character, Mildred, is having a barnburner of an argument with her teenage daughter, Angela. As Angela begins to storm out the door, she yells, "I hope I get RAPED!" over her shoulder. Mildred responds by shouting, "I hope you get raped, too!" at her daughter's back. The audience learns about this scene in a flashback after we've already learned that Angela was raped, murdered, and set on fire a few hundred yards from her house later that same evening.
- A variation in April Showers with the person dying being the regretful one. As he lies dying, Mr. Blackwell regrets forgetting to say "I love you." to his wife on the morning of the shooting.
- The Fugitive. On the night of his wife's murder, Richard Kimble drops her off at home after a banquet after being called back to the hospital for surgery. She tells him "I'll wait up for you". When the flashback ends, Kimble is sitting in a police interrogation room with her words echoing in his head, utterly floored that the last words they exchanged were something so mundane.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The last words Leonardo says to Raphael before the latter is beaten half to death and subsequently left in a coma was that the others didn't need him after he stormed off in a huff. Leo is completely guilt-ridden over this and spends the entire time after watching over his brother until he recovers.
- 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.
- A variation of this happens in the second A Series of Unfortunate Events book, The Reptile Room, when the night before Dr. Montgomery's murder, the Baudelaires are too preoccupied trying to guess Count Olaf's plan to tell him anything after the movie. The following morning when they see his corpse, Violet feels guilty for never getting to say thank you for the movie and tries to remember if at least they said it earlier.
- In The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, Thrall, while leaving for Outland, finds his old friend Cairne Bloodhoof waiting for him, who bitterly complains about his choice of Garrosh as Warchief. The two have an argument, and Thrall's last words are telling his friend that he has made his decision and it's up to him whether he helps Garrosh or undermines the Horde by being stubborn. Thrall considers apologizing, but the next thing he hears about Cairne is his death, which is partly Garrosh's fault.
- Accidental Detectives: The last words Mikes cousin Sarah ever said to her father (who died in a farming accident a couple hours later) were that she hated him for not letting her go to a party. Sarah is deeply upset about this and as a result has trouble believing that his dying message Love was meant for her instead of just her mother.
- In The Last Guardian, book 8 of the Artemis Fowl series, as Foaly is racing to save his wife, he tries desperately to remember his last words to her. He thinks it was "I love you", but he isn't sure. Fortunately, he's able to save her.
- In If I Stay, Adam broke up with Mia before the crash because she couldn't promise to spend New Years the next year with him. When he finally talks to her in the hospital, he's in tears.
- The businessman in Station Eleven who didn't get to speak to his family at all before the outbreak; the last phone call he ever made was a meaningless business call full of corporate jargon.
- In Divergent, the last thing that Tris says to Al is that if he comes near her again, she'll kill him. He commits suicide the evening after, and Tris wonders if she was too hard on him. To be fair, Al did try to kill her...
- Nina Tanleven: In The Ghost Let Go, Dolores Smiley's last words to her mother were "I HATE YOU!", before Mrs. Smiley and Dolores' boyfriend (the cause of the argument) were killed in a car crash, while Dolores was horribly disfigured. The regret at those words and the fact that ghosts can't communicate with the living (except the protagonists) is what is causing Mrs. Smiley to stay, hence the title.
- In And I Darken, Lada and Mehmed have a bitter fight: she wants to accompany him to battle, but he thinks her too precious to risk her harm. Lada's rage is cruel and immediate, and she doesn't regret it, not even when contemplating if those would be their last words, until she receives a letter informing her that Mehmed is dying, and those are their last words.
- Zuckerman Unbound by Philip Roth: When his emotionally distant father is on his deathbed, Nathan avoids facing his own feelings by reading interesting scientific facts out loud until the father curses him out in his last moments. Nathan's brother later chews Nathan out for spouting trivia rather than providing any affection or comfort.
Henry: "Dad, I love you" — that was all that was required! Oh, you miserable bastard...
- In Wuthering Heights, after Catherine (I) dies, her former friend and sister-in-law Isabella expresses private sadness to servant Nelly Dean because they parted in anger over their love triangle with Heathcliff (who loved Catherine but married Isabella for spite). She has No Sympathy for Heathcliff's grief, though, because Heathcliff has abused her throughout their brief marriage.
- Parodied in Brooklyn Nine-Nine where Boyle states that if anything happens to Jake he'd never forgive himself since his last words to him were "No, you're the man". When Terry says that sounds pretty nice, Boyle says nice isn't good enough.
- 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 and not being able to spend his last moments with him. In another episode, Mr Binford dies, and Al is full of guilt over having been "curt" to him the last time they spoke.
- The George Lopez Show:
- There is a tear-jerking scene where Angie remembers that the last time she spoke to her mother before her death, she said she would never forgive her for cheating on her father and called her a "selfish tramp".
- Parodied in "The Trouble with Ricky", where he blames Ricky for the burning of his garage and bemoans the "death" of his golf clubs, saying that the last words to his lucky putter were "I hate you".
- 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.
- When Hotchner leaves the team, Garcia's regret is that she can't even remember what the last thing she said to him was, because she didn't know it would be the last time they talked. She declares that it's too much pressure to say something deep and meaningful every time she talks to someone, but she does make sure to tell Rossi "I love you" before hanging up.
- The unsub in "Hanley Waters" is driven by grief over her son's death, compounded by several factors: Survivor Guilt (paramedics saved her instead of him), the fact that he'd died on his birthday, and the last thing he heard was her yelling at him (she was driving and he was kicking the back of her seat).
- Cold Case:
- In the 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.
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.
- In 8 Simple Rules, the last thing that Bridget said to her father before he died was "I hate you."
- Played for Laughs in Community when the group worries that Pierce, The Friend Nobody Likes, is dead after he's late for a meeting:
Troy: Oh, man, the last thing I said to him was "suck it".
Britta: Me too.
- In the season 3 premiere of The Borgias, Rodrigo is dying of poison (although he eventually pulls through), and Lucrezia feels guilty because the last thing she said to him was that she was glad her brother Juan (Rodrigo's favorite) was dead.
- Supernatural: Bobby became a hunter after his wife, Karen, was possessed by a demon, but what really eats at him is the last conversation they had.
Bobby: Biggest regret of my life, this fight. You'd think it was when I had to stab her to death, but... no. All through that — I was thinking we never got to get past this. If I'd have known, I'd have said anything she wanted to hear.
- Invoked by Phil on Modern Family to get Claire to tell the truth. As he falls asleep before his surgery he points out that the dangers and says "And if I never wake up, I'd hate for the last thing you ever said to me to be a lie".
- A late episode of Barney Miller depicts the murder of Mr. Cotterman, a recurring guest star throughout the series. A stunned Det. Harris says he can't even remember if he'd said goodbye to the man or wished him well when he last saw him. (For the record, he did.)
- One episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit features Munch confessing that he told his dad that he hated his guts just before his dad committed suicide. Naturally, he regrets this.
- In Dead Like Me, Joy's last words to George before her daughter's death are (in response to George's comment about "those are funeral clothes"): "There's going to be a funeral if you don't get your ass out of bed! Now move it!" George even remarks in the narration, "Boy, is she going to be sorry." Joy does regret being so hard on George.
- Daredevil (2015): One of Frank Castle's final moments with his daughter was refusing to read her favorite book to her before bed. She was killed by criminals the following night:
Castle: I said, "No, Daddy's too tired, see. But I... I'll read to you tomorrow night." I'll read to you tomorrow night. I promised.
- In the opening of "Into the Fold" from The Orville, Dr. Finn's older son, Ty, tells his mother that she "sucks" because he's unhappy with her for making him come on the family trip when he doesn't want to go on it. Later, after they've crashed on a hostile alien planet, he expresses regret for it, but when they finally get back in contact on the planet, she assures him that she knows people sometimes say stuff like this in anger and it doesn't mean they don't love each other.
- A variation occurs in I Love Lucy. When Lucy advises Fred to buy Ethel some ugly pants, they spend the rest of the episode fighting and ignoring each other. Their spat carries on into the theater where they go see a play that centers on two protagonists that also had a falling out and would bad mouth each other. When the husband of one of the characters informs his wife that her friend had died, she regrets parting ways in such a bad manner. This brings Lucy and Ethel to tears, and they forgive each other, and also causes a man that whose experience was being ruined by their fight to break down and hug them as well.
- General Hospital's Tom Hardy had a contentious relationship with his adoptive/stepfather, the beloved Chief of Staff Steve Hardy—despite being a successful doctor himself, Tom always felt that nothing he did was ever good enough to please Steve (and Tom's recent divorce was just the latest disappointment). After Steve died, Tom sadly confides to his mother Audrey that they had an argument the night before. She ruefully declares "Why should last night have been any different from all others?"
- The Golden Girls. Sophia has an argument with a friend. Several days later, the woman comes to apologize, declaring, "At our age, the last thing you say to someone could be...the last thing you say."
- In the Arrow episode "Past Sins," Earth 2's Laurel reveals to Felicity what happened to her father, Earth 2's Quentin Lance. On her 13th birthday, she threw a temper tantrum and told her father that she hated him because he forgot to pick up the cake. Her father felt so bad that he went back out to get it, only to be killed by a drunk driver.
- In The Good Place, we find out via flashback what Chidi's last moments were like. He was in the midst of an argument with his lifelong best friend, Uzo, which ended with Uzo shouting, "It is literally impossible to be your friend!" Not even thirty seconds later, Chidi's killed in a freak accident, leaving Uzo standing there in utter horror.
- 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.
- This is the theme of Kris Allen's "Live Like We're Dying". It's about trying to avoid this, and Never Got to Say Goodbye, for you or your loved ones.
- Adventures in Odyssey: After her boyfriend Mitch is killed during the Novacom Saga Connie spends part of an episode trying to remember what the last thing she said to him was, believing that it was "probably something really stupid". She also expresses regret for not telling Eugene how much she cared for him as her best friend before he and his wife went on the run from Andromeda. At the end of the episode, she talks about this with Whit, who tells her that they have to trust that "God will fill in the blanks for all the things we should have said"; Connie counters that they shouldn't expect Him to before telling Whit that she loves him.
- The World Ends with You: Eri regrets not being able to apologize to her friend Shiki before her death; she had offended Shiki by telling her she wasn't meant to be a designer when she meant she was much better as a seamstress. Shiki, playing the Reaper's Game, was listening as Eri told someone about this, and hearing this renews her resolve to win the game and see Eri again.
- Late in one route of Blaze Union, Siskier and Jenon playfully make fun of each other while rescuing Distressed Dude 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.
- Inverted in Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan with the song "Over the Distance". While no doubt the lady regrets the big fight she had with her loved one before he died, the story takes the perspective of the ghost, who was given a chance to contact her one last time to apologize.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, during the Bad Future, a girl named Severa and her Action Mom Cordelia have an argument about Cordelia's thoughts on her First Love, Chrom. In the height of the fight, Severa accuses Cordelia of not loving her father enough and still being hung up on Chrom, and isn't convinced even when Cordelia tells her it's not true... The day later, Cordelia dies in battle. And Severa never forgives herself for that.
- Final Fantasy XIII: In their last conversation, Lightning chewed Serah out for expecting her to believe her story about becoming a l'Cie and harshly drove her out of the house. The next time they see each other, Serah crystallizes in Lightning's arms before the latter can actually apologize.
Lightning: Serah... I should have listened to you.
- In off-screen events from The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, Princess Alfin and Prince Cedric had a big fight the morning of the events that changed everything and separated her from the rest of the royal family. She was planning to make up with him that night and in Cold Steel II is deeply upset about it. Rean tells her not to blame herself and assures her she'll still have the chance.
- Telltale's Game of Thrones potentially has this happen - if Rodrik spares the traitor, Talia calls him a coward and storms out. Rodrik can potentially die shortly thereafter in the Whitehill ambush. Talia expresses this sentiment upon learning of his death.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, this turns up between King Rhoam and his daughter Zelda. Rhoam had frequently scolded Zelda for her inability to unlock the Royalty Super Power that could defeat Calamity Ganon. He also becomes a Fantasy-Forbidding Father, scolding her researching the ancient Guardians on one of her few days off while having nothing to show in her efforts to awaken that power. On Zelda's 17th birthday, when she plans to pray on Mount Lanayru in one last attempt to get that power, both their diaries note that they have not spoken to each other since the latter incident but plan to make up after Zelda returns, with Rhoam, in particular, admitting that he has been too harsh on her lately. Ganon ends up emerging and killing everyone in Hyrule Castle, including Rhoam, that very day.
- In Super Danganronpa 2, Hajime notes after seeing a vision of Chiaki, who had been executed the previous chapter, that he keeps forgetting to say something. Shortly afterwards, while leaving the Neo World Program, he remembers to thank her for all the help shes done. Though, its played like an Aborted Declaration of Love.
- 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.
- Charby the Vampirate: Blaine regrets that his last interaction with his parents was an argument, following which he ran upstairs to his room. When he came back downstairs hours later to apologize it was to the sight of his parents mangled corpses being fed on by a vampire.
- The Cry of Mann:
- Jack admits he wasn't even able to say goodbye to Jouglat before he left for the warr, being too upset by the news, and eventually got used to the idea that his brother would die a soldier. By the time he returned, Jack was so wrapped up in his art show, he cared more about Jouglat's lack of interest in art than he did about the fact that his brother was actually home again.
- Jouglat's last conversation with Tank Mann was an argument over whether or not he should go to warr; he later admits that he wish he and his father never fought at all, now that Tank is missing with no signs of a return.
- The Simpsons:
- When Maude Flanders was killed at the Springfield Race Track, she was just returning from getting hot dogs from the concession stand. As a result, Ned was left with the regretful parting words "No footlongs".
- Implied with Homer and his mother Mona. During Mona's final appearance, 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.
- Marge once worries that her last words to Homer would be "Clip your toenails; they look like Fritos!"
- In the 500th episode, when the family is going to the bomb shelter for an emergency drill, Homer says if anyone has to fart, do it now. When Marge asks what if those were his last words, he replies that his last words will be "I can outrun that lion!"
- In the first episode of the twenty-sixth season, Rabbi Krustofsky's last words to his son Krusty before dying are "I always thought you were just ehh..." This sends Krusty into a deep depression.
- In the Second Season Finale of F is for Family thing's start on an incredibly depressing note following a series of escalating feud between Frank and Sue because of their building situations in the season, Frank attempting to get his job back via an incredibly stupid idea that his old boss Duhnbarton will rehire him if the new supervisor disappears mid shift and the airport is thrown into chaos leaving them no choice but to rely on Frank again and rehiring him out of gratitude. Meanwhile, on Sue's end, she is the verge of unveiling her new invention and had to go under the nose of her direct superiors to do so going to the head of the company taking a huge risk with almost no appreciation from Frank or anyone. Before leaving for the day after a heated argument and properly staring the Episode Sue tries to ask Frank if he has anything better to say before they leave. He takes a minute to think and says "Breakfast sucked" and leaves. Unfortunately for the both of them, things go awry and for Frank he is taken hostage when his plan never comes to fruition after an unexpected hijacking occurs and he's thrown into the middle of it with almost no hope he will survive, he finally confronts the thug holding a gun openly declaring regret in the events leading up to this and his last words to Sue.
- 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:
"I yelled at him, Mom. He grounded me and I wouldn't listen. The things I said—!"
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold has Bruce himself being bratty on Christmas Morning after getting his father's nutcracker soldier 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...
- In the God, the Devil and Bob episode "Bob's Father" Bob visits his father in the hospital and just as Bob's leaving the room his father imitates the flatline noise as a joke just to see how he would react. Bob angrily tells him he can go to Hell and his father dies a second later. Initially, Bob is afraid that just by saying that he condemned him to Hell, but God tells him it doesn't work that way. Later God arranges one last meeting between Bob and his father so they can part on better terms.
- Jerrica from Jem has some regrets about acting mean towards her mother the day she died in an airplane crash. She didn't even properly say goodbye to her because she was upset.
- Clone High parodied this, along with other overly melodramatic story cliches, in the episode Litter Kills: Literally. JFK has a huge fallout with his best friend Poncey (a clone of explorer Ponce De Leon introduced specifically to be killed off in this episode) and tells Poncey he hates him, just minutes before Poncey is killed by the copious amounts of trash littering the schoolyard. To further make fun of this trope, normally Poncey tells everyone how much he loves them before leaving, just in case they never see each other again.
- In the Code Lyoko episode "Killer Music", Ulrich has a big fight with Odd before storming out. Right after he leaves, Odd ends up in a coma (and the process looked to be quite painful). Ulrich is clearly devastated that the last thing Odd heard from him was a bunch of insults.
- Steven Universe: Blue Diamond is implied to be suffering from this. A flashback in "Can't Go Back" shows what was probably her last conversation with Pink Diamond, and her part is basically scolding Pink for dragging her feet with her colony (somewhat understandable, as "Jungle Moon" shows that Pink Diamond had previously thrown tantrums about getting one) and telling her that Rose Quartz was no threat and that "as long as you are there to rule, this colony will be completed". Soon afterwards, Rose shattered Pink Diamond, causing the colony to remain incomplete. It's been thousands of years since then, and Blue is still in mourning. Yellow is implied to invert this: she was there during the entire last conversation between Blue and Pink, but instead of saying something, she stood in angry silence with her back to Pink and her nose in the air, refusing to look at her. In actuality, this conversation double-subverts this trope. Blue and Yellow eventually find out that Pink wasn't shattered and that these words were actually an Unwitting Instigator of Doom: it was probably this conversation that finally convinced Pink a) the other Diamonds didn't love or care about her, and b) the only way she could possibly spare Earth (which she had grown to love) was to fake her own shattering and frame her alter ego Rose Quartz for it. But while Yellow and Blue find out that Pink did survive for thousands of years longer than they assumed, they also learn that Pink still died twelve years before the start of the story in order to bring her son into existence, and her son, Steven, also forces them to acknowledge the abusive homelife they had trapped Pink within. Once they finally accept that Steven isn't his mother, they have to re-face the fact that Pink is genuinely Deader Than Dead, never once wanted to return after having fled them, and likely died believing they didn't love her... and they will never be able to reconcile with her. They have to live with the fact that this last painful conversation, emblematic of all of the mistreatment they put Pink through, is still something they can never take back.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Whatever Happened to SpongeBob?", SpongeBob's friends discover that he's run away from Bikini Bottom so he won't screw everything up anymore, and they realize the last thing they did was call him "Idiot boy" and tell him to get lost.
Mr. Krabs: What am I gonna do without me fry cook?!Patrick: What am I gonna do without my best friend?! (starts crying) I should never have been mean to you!Sandy: I shoulda never kicked you out of my house! (cries)Squidward: (near tears) If I'd known that was the last time I'd ever see SpongeBob— (happily) I would have slammed the door in his face even harder! (starts laughing while everyone else cries)
- Star Wars Rebels: At one point Ahsoka reflects on her time in the Clone Wars and how the last interaction she ever had with Anakin and Obi-Wan was just before they ran off to save Palpatine from General Grievous (it was not a happy reunion). While she doesn't explicitly say this, its quite clear she regrets never having the chance to make proper peace with them. Her remorse nearly leads to her death in the season two finale, as she stays on Malachor to face Darth Vader out of a refusal to abandon Anakin again, only surviving thanks to Ezra's future self saving her through the World Between Worlds.
- Referenced in this article published December 15, 2012, the day after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, in which the author describes how she made a vow that the last words that she said to her children before going to bed at night would always be "I love you," and encourages others to do the same.
Hey! Get back in your bed. I love you.
- Mike Starr, the former bassist of Alice in Chains, admitted to having this during his appearance on Celebrity Rehab. He told those in attendance, which included Layne Staley's mother, that the last time he talked to Layne, he urged him to call 911 due to his ailing condition from drug use. Layne refused, and this sparked an argument that ended with Starr storming out. As he left, he heard Layne call out to him "Not like this, don't leave like this." Since Layne is believed to have died the next day, this was the last conversation they had. Starr blamed himself for Layne's death until he died nearly a decade later in 2011.
- Waylon Jennings lost a coin flip with Buddy Holly and was forced to take a bus to Minnesota while Holly took a plane. When Holly joked "Well, I hope your ol' bus freezes up." Jennings joked back "Well, I hope your ol' plane crashes." Tragically, the plane did crash in what would become known as The Day the Music Died, killing everyone on board. Waylon was haunted by those words for the rest of his life.
- Many Nintendo fans suffered this and a case of My God, What Have I Done? after Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015. Their last communication with him was anger and disappointment towards Nintendo's E3 2015 presentation, which included the divisive Metroid Prime: Federation Force. Iwata apologized and promised next year would be better. He never got the chance to do it and many fans are now upset that this was the last thing they said to him before he died.
- Craig Scott recalls that the last time he saw his sister Rachael, he was arguing with her on the way to their high school. Hours later, she became the first victim of the Columbine massacre.