Top 5 Regrets of the DyingPosted by in Aging | Health | Home Health Care | Hospice | Personal Stories
Posted: 1/21/12 06:12 PM ET/Bronnie Ware is a writer and songwriter from Australia.
A Hospice care worker relates her findings culled from many patients over time. Ms. Ware has consolidated the top five regrets her patients communicated to her. Some are typical, wihshing they worked less and others are very poignant about wishing they had chosen to be happier. Overall, it is our relationships which matter most to us inour last weeks and days.
Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them. She reports being amazed at the capacity for growth and change a person has at the end of their life.
Here are the five regrets or things they would have done differently, the common themes as told to Ms. Ware by her patients.
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. Most people had not realized even a half of their dreams and knew that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is so crucial to realize and live some of your dreams while you still have your health and strength. Once illness and weakness take over your body, it is usually much harder or not possible to do so.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
Every male patient stated this regret. The fact that they missed much of their children’s formative years loomed large. Many women cited it also though most were from an older generation and were homemakers.
Many, though not all are our choices on how we wish to live and compete with neighbors. How we value our time, what we must do without if we choose to value time over objects.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many of her patients said they suppressed their feelings in order not to rock the boat and they wish they had been more honest. Some felt this suppression ate them up inside and may have led to their illness.
It is hard to be honest with people but by doing so, it can deepen a relationship or end one that was either negative or superficial.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Ms. Ware found that “Everyone misses their friends when they are dying. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away.”
We all lead busy lives and live far away from one another in some cases, therefore friendships slip away. At the end of life, people want to get their finances and business in order. The thing is, by then they are usually too weak to do so and it falls to others to do. It is our relationships and loves that matter at the end of our life. The loves, the friends are what count most. The nurturing of these relationships can only be done before one is too ill or weak to d
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many of her patients only realized that “happiness” is a choice once they were at the end of their life. Fear of change, falling into the familiar and comfortable or just plain old patterns make it harder for us to realize this.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying. Her patients said they wished they had laughed more, longer and could be silly more.
This post was originally published on Inspiration and Chai.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.