Skip to main content

Personally experiencing a life and death situation this past year, I've wanted to share with you my thoughts on an interesting book, that i recently finished by Bronnie Ware, titled: The Top Five Regrets of The Dying.

In this thought-provoking book, she recorded the most common regrets of the dying and the guilt that they felt in nearing their last days.

Ironically true for most of us, among the top ones in it, are 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'.

What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?

For those wondering; in the book, there was no mention of more sex or bungee jumps.

Instead, Ware, a nurse who specializes in palliative care has counselled the dying in their last days and in her book, revealed the most common regrets that we have at the end of our lives.

Interestingly for me, among the top from men in particular, is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'.

*Editor's Note - Most of the patients that she is recording are in the last 12 week of their lives and they are AWARE OF THIS.*

In her book, Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. "When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently," she says, "common themes surfaced again and again."

Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware in her book The Top Five Regrets of The Dying:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

"This was the most common regret of all. 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. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

"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 that Bronnie nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

"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. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

"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. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

"This is a surprisingly common one. 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."

With many of us living with regret; think about this deeply.  What's your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?

For the original story :  Café Con Leche

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Sharoney, Max Wyvern, paradox, Ed in Montana, Constantine, Alfred E Newman, Danny Boy, Best in Show, PLS, RF, Sean Robertson, Radiowalla, itsbenj, murphy, Maxlongstreet, abarefootboy, Pandora, TrueBlueMajority, emal, Avila, Sprinkles, Emerson, Debby, Shockwave, just another vet, m maddog, SanJoseLady, meg, mofus, Rachael7, frisco, sobermom, vrexford, Creosote, Theodoric of York Medieval Liberal, eyeswideopen, bronte17, EricS, cskendrick, wonkydonkey, whenwego, Agathena, stevej, farmerhunt, taonow, Ignacio Magaloni, retLT, Torta, MazeDancer, splashy, CocoaLove, wader, tomephil, ammaloy, edrie, annan, American Zapatista, Kentucky DeanDemocrat, Lawrence, exiledfromTN, NYFM, lizah, rlharry, Timbuk3, riverlover, One bite at a time, zerelda, Kitsap River, Hillbilly Dem, schuylkill, NapaJulie, Mosquito Pilot, bablhous, bgx, sebastianguy99, Gowrie Gal, Into The Woods, historys mysteries, Bluesee, marina, radarlady, 3goldens, yuriwho, Alice Venturi, one of 8, elkhunter, dewtx, CinDan, FutureNow, Pam from Calif, Fury, quaoar, blue jersey mom, kaliope, Tool, FindingMyVoice, turdraker, bunsk, Ekaterin, mrchips46, littlewren, RainyDay, CJnyc, Born in NOLA, third Party please, Showman, tarheelblue, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Kingsmeg, vigilant meerkat, Themistoclea, profundo, Yellow Canary, mooshter, Dvalkure, koNko, Audri, jpw, Lefty Coaster, Crashing Vor, SadieSue, JVolvo, NearlyNormal, middleagedhousewife, onionjim, Unknown Quantity, democracy is coming, CA Nana, Stripe, Dreaming of Better Days, kurt, sea note, Pandoras Box, ZenTrainer, Aaa T Tudeattack, cpresley, ladypockt, One Pissed Off Liberal, phonegery, FlamingoGrrl, byDesign, tgypsy, Deadicated Marxist, Debs2, leema, mamabigdog, gloriana, aravir, blue71340, Trial Lawyer Richard, Mary Mike, some other george, terabytes, joedemocrat, newpioneer, rontripp, RudiB, Chico David RN, leonard145b, billso, bewild, janatallow, Assaf, gizmo59, 123man, MKinTN, Shane Hensinger, revm3up, mconvente, VelvetElvis, glutz78, angry hopeful liberal, mamamedusa, Senor Unoball, Mr Stagger Lee, Involuntary Exile, NewDealer, Cat Servant, treesrock, lineatus, tofumagoo, royce, pickandshovel, Missys Brother, mofembot, wavpeac, Liberal Of Limeyland, Horsefeathers, petulans, Parthenia, emidesu, DixieDishrag, Karl Rover, magicsister, fayea, JBL55, 207wickedgood, Ripeness Is All, zmom, greengemini, LinSea, juca, bsmechanic, maryabein, mkor7, jmknapp53, GreenMtnState, elziax, brooklynliberal, COwoman, Shelley99, histOries Marko, nancat357, jan0080, astral66, citisven, Leftcandid, collardgreens, Larsstephens, Dema Broad, indianobserver, smileycreek, FogCityJohn, miss SPED, gramofsam1, blueyescryinintherain, Crabby Abbey, FrankCornish, Simple, ATFILLINOIS, gulfgal98, samanthab, kacemo, paradise50, orlbucfan, DrTerwilliker, Otteray Scribe, science nerd, txcatlin, Its a New Day, Onomastic, tharu1, redlum jak, annominous, Miniaussiefan, nervousnellie, slowbutsure, kiwiheart, kevin k, deeproots, boomerchick, marleycat, thomask, Wolf10, Santa Susanna Kid, Grandma Susie, MRA NY, loblolly, worldlotus, corvaire, peregrine kate, foresterbob, sound of progress, poliwrangler, VTCC73, Marihilda, SteelerGrrl, Regina in a Sears Kit House, Mentatmark, SouthernLiberalinMD, Laurel in CA, BlueDragon, Only Needs a Beat, hulibow, worldforallpeopleorg, anodnhajo, isabelle hayes, PennsylvaniaProgressive, cwsmoke, Mindful Nature, Joieau, AreDeutz, Trotskyrepublican, Lorinda Pike, Mr Robert, chicagobleu, peachcreek, BRog, flume, wxorknot, cassandracarolina, 43north, Denver11, dotdash2u, mumtaznepal, Most Awesome Nana, Lily O Lady, Blue Bell Bookworm, DamselleFly, countwebb, Late Again, JayRaye, Says Who, DustBunny, goodpractice, boudi08, howabout, northerntier, backwoodsbob, Another Grizzle, Ishmaelbychoice, bontemps2012, saxoman1, pipercity1, oslyn7, drnatrl, teacherjon

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site