Monday, 18 February 2013

Regrets Of The Dying

I don't know if i could think of a harder, more emotional and upsetting job than that of a palliative care nurse, caring for patients in the last few weeks of their lives but Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent years doing this incredible job and has written a very poignant book called 'The Top Five Regrets of the Dying'.

Bronnie recorded their regrets and the top most reoccurring of those at the end of their lives are:

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'.

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'.

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'.

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 I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence'.

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. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it'.


Anne said...

Love this post! Have heard about that book, and will definitely read it. At least 50% of the reson we relocated to Hawaii is due to watching friends and family members become sick and die before they chased their dreams. They did all the things they were told, and yet felt unfulfilled and afraid of dying. I want a different end game, and am doing my best to make that my reality.
I like to think that if one lives their life on their terms, then death is just a natural part of it.

Anonymous said...

I was expecting:

> i wish i had spent more time at work!

> i wish i had more money

> i wish i had eaten more ice cream


Anonymous said...

ok, really, just the last one...


Lucy said...

Good for you Annie, i wish i had your verve.

I had an old boss who used to say nobody ever said on their deathbed that they wished they had spent more time in the office. Funny thing was he also said that coming into the office was his salvation from a very overbearing wife which was a bit of a contradiction.