View Full Version : The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying

10th January 2012, 12:41
You may have missed this yesterday, it is truly interesting and thought provoking.

The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying
Bronnie Ware

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

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 realise 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 honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn't work 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 I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

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.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

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

Often they would not truly realise 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.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

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

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise 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.

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.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.


Based on this article, Bronnie has now released a full-length book, titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed by the regrets of dying people. It may be ordered through bookstores worldwide or from Balboa Press.
It is also available via the link on this page.
Details for wholesale orders may be found on Bronnie's official website.

Tarka the Duck
10th January 2012, 17:20
You know, reading this stopped me in my tracks.

Instead of getting caught up in the never ending titillations and speculations of who-said-what and how-can-people-possibly-think-that and I-saw-a-reptilian-on my-way-to-the-shops. It's invaluable to spend a moment considering these 5 points.

Would you have these regrets if you were coming to the end of your life at this moment?

It's really important - precisely because we never know when the end of our life is sneaking up on us.

One of my closest friends told me that he was deeply affected by what his father replied when asked, on his death bed, what he felt about his life. He replied, "Resentment."

It's worth considering what your reply would have been...

10th January 2012, 17:23
I wish I could have shown more love.

10th January 2012, 17:51
I wish I could have shown more love.
That says it all Pieman,theres still time for us all yet.

10th January 2012, 17:55
There's a quote Alex Collier says was given to him by the Andromedans. Theseus?

"The love you withhold is the pain you carry."

10th January 2012, 18:02
Of course I forgot...eating more chocolate....and giggling at everything!

10th January 2012, 18:07

Along these same lines :- Whenever I find myself bothered / harassed / agitated about something,
I try to step back and ask myself to look at it again as if I was on my death bed, breathing my last few breaths.
Then I realise how trivial it REALLY is !!

Of course there are exceptions (such as humanitarian injustices, and other BIG issues), but for many everyday problems I've found that this approach works well.

11th January 2012, 00:43
Of course I forgot...eating more chocolate....and giggling at everything!

My grandmother is 95.

That is all she does, now.

11th January 2012, 00:48
I wish I could have shown more love.

Yes... I suspect that this regret is virtually, Universal... the proof is all around us.

§=[Post Update]=§

There's a quote Alex Collier says was given to him by the Andromedans. Theseus?

"The love you withhold is the pain you carry."

I had not heard that one... I feel the Truth in this statement, In Full.

In Unity and Peace
(and a Greater Expression of Love)

11th January 2012, 01:13
You have resentment of your life after death, you will be born on Earth again. Is it good thing or bad?

A corrupted system make everybody criminals in the beginning. Well, I was a criminal should I go back to pay off my mistakes? Brilliant scheme how to enslave souls.

percival tyro
11th January 2012, 21:01
For me "Love means never having to say you're sorry" is a profound statement but it is sometimes one way traffic.

11th January 2012, 21:12
On procrastination : "do today what you will put off to tomorrow - because you never know if you'll have tomorrow"
My dad in law reminded me of this last year. He passed away last week at 92.

Ineffable Hitchhiker
11th January 2012, 21:16
It's worth considering what your reply would have been...

I would like to add...

I have suddenly learnt (not on my deathbed, ya know :P ) how to be grateful. Grateful for having a healthy body, family, friends, food on the table, a roof over my head.
There are many that donīt get to enjoy such "luxuries".

Great thread!

11th January 2012, 21:20
In the Code of the Samurai: "Always keep Death in Mind"

If we view ourselves from our death bed, write our own eulogy-what will be realized? That'll be up to you....

11th January 2012, 21:32
I wish I could have shown more love.

It's not too late, Tony.

Thanks for this great post. It speaks to me today, especially, as I'm reminded of what's important in life.

jorr lundstrom
11th January 2012, 21:45
Yes, as we all have our lives behind us and nothing promised in front of us.

I could be wise to think about wots important in this moment.:grouphug:

11th January 2012, 22:48
yes, this survey proves that we have (on average) been completely stripped of our personal power in an insidious way, through choices of convience & social acceptability..

I read this and think " MAN THE **** UP" but then I think about my own shortcommings on this list... "they" really have done a good job with this trap... who here is really doing what they want and isn't conforming.. I'm not, but some people are,, there's a break away community here in alaska in Kasilof that is doing this... I've heard of some in Idaho & montana as well...

its almost a break away society... if Schafer Cox had not been arrested I think the whole state of alaska would have been changed... so what are we todo?

11th January 2012, 22:53
Believe it or not...I'm trying not to make that mistake...

I wish I could have shown more love.

11th January 2012, 23:22
Regret is about as useless as guilt.

I feel that people fail to realize how much impact they have, every time they do something for others - even if its just a kind thought.

Even Pie'n'eal! Every time he or anyone posts on this forum, it is to make it easier for some others, optionally, to grasp some more of the available knowledge and wisdom's as may be needed for them.

I am certain that he (or anyone else) is doing that, consciously or unconsciously because of Love and an innate desire to serve others.

For whatever reason you are motivated to post on any forum, in the end you are performing service; and even, EVEN, if your ego gets some fringe benefits (if you let the little bugger), the main impact on us all is that we are enriched.

I think most service to others oriented people radiate more love than perhaps they actually realize.

Don't hold back!

I think if we allow ourselves to be led from our hearts, there can be no regret about loving enough.

PS: That Alex Collier quote is partial: the full quote is: 'The love that you withhold is the pain that you carry lifetime after lifetime.'.

11th January 2012, 23:41
Thank you, Pie'n'eal, for this wonderful thread.

The OP has delivered a timeless message to us all. Puts everything back in the right perspective. what a great thing to share.

Thanks, everyone, who's spoken here!

11th January 2012, 23:51
I wish i had not been so foolishly arrogant to believe that providing i was not attached, i could do anything within the sensory field and it would not effect my karma.

Weekend last i accompanied two traumatic deaths, as they passed a light was shown into the presence of my soul and i saw the error of my ways.

I seek pardon and bow to the wisdom of the death

12th January 2012, 00:33
Thanks for this thread!

I am so so thankful to life. I am young, but theese things are the most important to me. And I am happy that I allways try to be true to myself, in every situation.

As Paulo Coelho put it:

Linda: I always wondered whatíll be our lives after death. Do you have any imagination how itíll look like if I may ask you?

Paulo Coelho: I donít think about this. But when I will be in front of this gate, I want to tell to the doorman: I lived my life fully.

12th January 2012, 00:35
I volunteer at a palliative care home, so I have the priviledge of caring and being close to brothers and sisters that are getting ready for another life. Being close to death has taught me how to live. Death has many faces, but the message is always the same, live your life as if there was no tomorrow.

Thank you for sharing Pie'n'eal.

Lost Soul
12th January 2012, 03:38
Apache scout Stalking Wolf once said that a person who is not living their vision is not living at all. You can read about Stalking Wolf in Tom Brown (the tracker and not to be confused with the preacher of the same name) books.