Like some people, Bronnie Ware worked in a job where she felt unfulfilled and uninspired in her work. She decided to look for a job where she could care for people. Although she didn’t have experience or formal education in health care, she found herself working in palliative care.
After many years of working in palliative care and caring for people during the last stages of their life, she shared incredible moments with each of her patients. Each patient would go through several emotions such as fear or remorse but they would eventually accept their fate. When she asked if they had any regrets, most of their answers had the same common themes. She compiled them in her book, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing” which you can buy on Amazon and here are some excerpts from her book.
1) The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
Top five regrets of the dying: “This was the most common regret of all (top five regrets of the dying). When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize until they no longer have it.”
2) The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
Top five regrets of the dying: “This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”
3) The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Top five regrets of the dying: “Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”
4) The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Top five regrets of the dying: “Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”
5) The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Top five regrets of the dying: “This is a surprisingly common one (top five regrets of the dying). Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”
Life moves pretty fast and it seems the older we get, the faster each day, week, and months go by. Enjoy life and be thankful for every single day. Please share the top five regrets of the dying and people during the last stage of their life with your friends and family.