Friday, December 13, 2013

Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed

Folks, this blog post of mine is from another person's blog.  Her name is Bronnie Ware.  You can click on the link to her blog below under her name.  
I'm posting her blog to my blog to share my feelings with my followers.  Some years ago I made the decision to live my life as I saw fit and not how others wanted me to live my life because they had determined that they knew better than I how to live my life.  

Of course this decision has caused not some small consternation with those of my friends and relative and even co-workers who, either through their own misguided interpretation of their religious beliefs that they felt a self-righteous need to lay on me because of my easy going persona or just because of their own arrogance that they "know better" (and you know who you are FORMER friends).  

A friend, a good friend sent me this link.  This friend is one who accepts me as I am.  No, he's not gay but he is a good friend who lives his life according to the way he has determined that is best for him.  He, like me, causes no harm to anyone other than their perceived loss of privacy (which really isn't), by living his life on his own terms.  

One thing in life that constantly amazes me is how some people feel it is their life's mission to change and control others lives.  What is it with these people?  Power? Arrogance?  Lack of self-esteem so they have to compensate by controlling others?  

That's one thing I will never understand to my dying day, some people's need to control others and define them.  As for me, I'm living my life the way I want to, harming no one, in spite of the lame arguments from those who want to control my life say I am.  And you know what folks?  I am supremely happy.  Much happier than they are.  

Here is this lady's blog posting.  She is right on. 

Bronnie Ware says; 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 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.
It is very important to try and honor 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 realize, 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 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.
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.
Source: This article originated from blog of author Bronnie Ware.
Based on this article, Bronnie has released a full-length book. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed based on the regrets of the dying people she cared for. The book is available from her website, and major online bookstores and is called ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing’.


Jon said...

Bronnie Ware gives very sound advice and provides a lot to think about. Thanks for taking the time to post this. You've also made a lot of very valid points in this post. I still can't understand what twisted pleasure some people derive from focusing on the lives of others. This obsessive need to control and to judge is undoubtedly a way of diverting attention from their own inadequacies and fears. Being self-righteous is extremely unbecoming.....

Ron said...


Some people feel they are superior to others and feel compelled to control. All my life I have repealed those people and it pisses them off because they usually get away with their actions, but not with me. They are obsessive in their need to control and judge and you are absolutely right in that they are diverting attention away from their own inadequacies and fears, sometimes without even realizing what they are doing. Their self-righteous attitude is extremely unbecoming and I'm tired of it.


Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I guess maybe I'll have to claim some smugness here and admit that of the five, number one is the only one I regret now, but now that I'm out, and living my life my way, it's not so bad. #2? Yeah, I work. The job is OK. It can be challenging, frustrating, but also rewarding. Since I don't have a partner or kids, I guess the 40/week I put in is a small price to pay for 128 other hours a week I can do with as I please. And I do get paid enough to be happy with my financial position, though who wouldn't like more money? I've pretty much always expressed my feelings, so not sure how I fit into #3. As to #4, I am in touch with friends back to my childhood. #5, I'm pretty happy. And apart from a few years, I've never been really unhappy. Now that I'm out, I hope to be happier when I meet "the one", which I am working on.

I guess all this means is that maybe I'm on the right-hand side of the bell curve, and when my time comes to be in palliative care, maybe I can go smiling. Afterlife? Who knows. I just hope I can live this one happily, and hopefully making others happy to know me!

Peace <3

Ur-spo said...

lovely list, indeed.

anne marie in philly said...

my parental units were, and still are, control freaks. bullies. I had to cut them from my life.

my friends are out here in cyberspace, though I wish they lived closer. it is what it is.

"People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality." - YES! I found this out at age 35, when I had cancer. my life took a 365 for the better and I have never looked back.

thanks for sharing this, ron. some people need to hear/see it multiple times before they get the message.

Ron said...

Dr. Spo,

An excellent list.


Ron said...

Anne Marie,
One of my biggest regrets is all the time I've wasted in my life trying not to offend people by just living my life. At this time of my life, let them deal with it. I'm living my life. I'm tired of trying to not offend just because of who I am and the way I choose to live my life. Some people I'm going to have to cut out of my life. So be it. It's long overdue.


Ron said...


I've gradually come around to this way of thinking just through my own personal life experience. My one regret is that it took me so long do so.


Raybeard said...

Many years ago I noticed that those who were the most ready to come forward with advice on how I should live my life were ones whose own lives were very far from being models one wished to emulate. So I just let them have their say (it was always useless arguing!), let it wash over, then do what I was going to do anyway.

(Sorry, Ron - I mistakenly and very curiously posted these words as part of a comment to Harper Keeper's 'Sound of Music' post, but it was intended to be here. I've posted an explanation there - and now copy it for you, for what it's worth. It's disturbing how my mind was confused enough to make it happen, though.)

the cajun said...

I so agree with Anne Marie, but the problem is - those who ought to read this are not going to read it. They're too busy being a bother judging everyone they don't agree with and feel like they have to "save from themselves." Phooey on that!

It's a good piece and thanks for posting it, but I feel like Bronnie's preaching to the Choir. As I was told a few years ago, "keep being who you are and the truth will break through the lies." True, oh so true.

BTW, love the card! Thanks.

Jon said...

Hey Ron, I love the Xmas card. Many thanks!

Ron said...

the cajun,

You're right, those who need to know these facts will probably never read it. I came to these conclusions myself about fifteen years ago because I just got so tired of being a hamster in a wheel trying to please everyone else (and not) while I was growing every so steadily depressed and unhappy. When I quite my job at the bank in Philadelphia in 1997 and embarked on an almost 20 year quest of part-time jobs, self employed jobs and no jobs; these have been the happiest and most fulfilled times of my life albeit scary at times especially when the money ran low and I was on the brink of financial ruin of all I had worked for all my life. At least I was FREE of the Yoke of Expectations of others. Sure, the Others still try to lay their values on me but it ain't working now, much to their anger and frustration.

Glad you liked the card. I sent it to everyone. The feedback is very interesting. Some surprises. I'll write about it in a future blog posting.


Ron said...


You're so right, those who are quick to advise me how to live my life own lives were far from a "model to emulate." It is useless to argue, they are convinced that their Way is The Way. Fine, let them go that way but don't put that on me.

Part of my problem is that I have an innate born desire to please everyone but it conflicts with my sense of freedom when others try to control and dictate how I should live my life. And therein lies the problem. Maybe if I was a bastard up front I wouldn't have these conflicts. But being a bastard doesn't come naturally to me, I have to work at it and when I do I feel so guilty. Tis a problem for sure.


Ron said...


Glad you liked it! Bill didn't want me to send them out. I did anyway. Let the cards fall where they may.


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