Top Five Regrets of the Dying, Grief and Loss – AARP

All men die, but not all men really live~William Wallace

This is a very serious subject and  I would like you to think about it. Do you really live the life you want? Are your compromising your dreams to meet someone ‘else agenda. Do you think you had no choice so you live a life you do not enjoy fully?  Do you simply take time to explore your dreams before you are too old or too sick to make them true ?

Bronnie Ware worked for many years in palliative care. Her  patients were those who had gone home to die. On their dying bed, when questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, five common themes surfaced.  I am going to list those top 5 regrets and put some personal comments for you to think about it

 1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. It’s important to try to honor at least some of your dreams along the way. It’s too late once you lose your health. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

For years I have kept a journal where I write my dreams, small or big, without checking if they are feasible or not. This exercise helps you being conscious of what you passionately want, I check it regularly and add new ones but I am always amaze to see I have achieved some of my dreams almost effortlessly as they were in my mind when choices had to be made.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.  We sacrifice our Youth, Health, Time and Love for money and other materialistic things yet those most precious things cannot be bought with money. By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do.

 3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. Being able to recognize and express your negative emotions such as anger, resentment,  frustration and communicate  your worries and doubts safely with friends or family members is certainly helping reducing stress. Chronic (long-term) stress caused by stressful situations or events that last over a long period of time can trigger health problems. If you already have a health problem, stress can make it worse.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. Being part of a community, helping others having a cause you stand for all this make your life richer, giving has healing power when it is done unconditionally.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. Guilt is often the emotion that prevent you from being truly happy. Be incredibly selfish, have your own needs met first because you cannot really help others if you feel miserable, you cannot truly love if you do not love yourself.

To read more about this article Top Five Regrets of the Dying, Grief and Loss – AARP 

Hope that sharing this article with you will help you to never have regrets 

About Anne Egros

Zest and Zen is a blog about Expat Life Challenges, Global Leadership, Intercultural Communication, Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Change Psychology, Life Transitions
This entry was posted in Executive Coaching, Life coaching, stress management, Work-life Balance and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Top Five Regrets of the Dying, Grief and Loss – AARP

  1. Anna Maroni says:

    This post really strikes close to home as I have just went through the pain of losing my uncle to cancer and almost everything you listed here he seemed to utter at one time or another over the last few months. I think this is great to put out there for people to see. With the awareness making itself public hopefully people will try harder to live their own lives and not a life for someone else.

  2. Pingback: The True Art Of Aging | Anne Egros, Intercultural Executive Coach

  3. This is a Heavy topic. I’ll come back after I digest.

  4. Great post, Anne! That’s one of the things I love about growing older–it gives me an opportunity to look back and relearn some of the lessons I may have forgotten.

  5. Sandi Cornez says:

    Excellent post. Thank you Anne for reminding all of us of what truly is important in our lives.

    Many years ago I had a Compassionate Caregiving Business. That was the name I chose. Previously I had been a teacher working with children with (the label) special needs. (we’re all special needs). Patience, love, compassion, gratitude, and humor were and are my tricks of the trade so to be speak. I used to say that I learned more from those children and their families than I ever learned in school.

    From the elders whom I had the privilege of working with, every day was a precious gift. There is a beautiful song that my former Rabbi in Eugene, OR wrote; “Treasure Each Day”. I try to live my life this way.

    I was also fortunate to learn early on the expression, “this too will pass”. It has helped immeasurably. Especially recently when a few health related issues came home to roost.

    Do I have regrets. Emphatically: NO! Life is too precious to waste on my perceptions of what might have been.

  6. I agree with Kim..all of these items are on my list. Your article really puts this into perspective and very well written I might add. Thank you

  7. Hard topic, Anne. Yes I missed a lot of life just running behind someonelse life. I got into all the 5. I just wasted terrific opportunities and I already regret about it. Then few years ago I stopped and I quittes: it was just dying and resurrecting. Today I’m living my life. Though what I’ve missed is lost I’m an happy person. I still have to compromise with my dreams, but at least it is a conscious process and this make me feel happy.

    • Hi Fabrizio, I am very happy for you that you are enjoying your life. As you said, becoming conscious of why we do certain things, helps make the right decisions. We don’t have enough time or resources to make all our dreams come true but using our imagination gives us hope and a purpose in life.

  8. Ann you could publish this post every day, every day we need reminding to focus on what’s important and I am constantly shocked by how our culture puts work and money above family and happiness. Still things are changing and posts like this help those changes along, thank you.

    • Hi Gemma, We can always change at any age if we are aware first of what we really love to do. I believe in the power of humility to learn what the life has to teach us, we cannot stop the suffering or illness but we can make conscious choices. It reminds me a video of Steve Jobs who said you have to be passionate by what you do or you will simply becoming insane, I agree.

  9. Hi Ann and Dorien,

    This was a great post. I know exactly what your saying.

    The longest time I’ve all ways been healthy and never
    thought i be sick well a year and half ago boy I got a big
    shock of my life. I got sick my health isn’t as good as before.
    There are so many thing I miss doing with the kids but I’ve
    found other things to take the place of what i can’t do with

    3 of our kids are cleaning to cook and it such a joy seeing
    them learn to do thing on there own to. They can do the wash
    now to.

    We back all lot together and make different things. I really
    enjoy the little things more than any thing now.

    Yes I’ve had to give up some of my dreams like being a nurse
    or teachers. But I love to help people so I’ve learned to help others

    It has been hard on our kids that mom’s sick but they are getting use
    to it and dealing with it.

    All so we are now dealing with our 14 year old daughters back issues.
    All so our 24 year old expecting her 2nd child but she lost her 1st one.
    Because she has so many health issue she still my lose this baby,she
    my carry to full term but my lose the baby any way.

    All so my hubby has been disabled for 14 years now and he has gotten
    worse. He may lose his leg. Which we still aren’t sure about.

    Plus we are dealing with other things to.

    Sorry this is so long.

    Have a great night

    • Dear Bonnie, I learned a great lesson by writing this article after Dorien gave me her feedback on the first version. This kind of article can really hurt even if I am deeply convinced it can help some people. I am conscious that it add nothing to people who suffer so much like you and your family, but I am grateful to have you has a friend and for people who don’t know your pain, after reading your comment they may reach you and give a friendly hand. Sharing your feelings is courageous but I guess you won’t regret it.

  10. Dorien says:

    Hi Anne, first things first: I had to click on the link to read the 5 regrets and then I was taken away from your blog post. You might want to fix that by listing the 5 regrets and then referring to the article.

    This is an interesting post to me, as my father is terminally ill right now. He’d been cancer free for 19 years after three cancer diagnoses and numerous treatments and surgeries. What did that do to him and our family?

    We’ve lived our lives with the knowledge that each day we have is a gift. We’ve treasured birthdays, anniversaries, family trips and outings as special events and have ‘stopped to smell the roses’ daily.

    What do we have now as we embark on a journey to say a final goodbye to my father and my kids’ grandfather? No regrets. None! Heartache and sadness, but no regrets.

    I encourage anyone to stop and look at their lives and change it for the better WHILE THEY CAN, if unhappy. ‘You only live once’ becomes a hard reality when a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

    Nice thought provoking piece and I sincerely hope you can help some people with your coaching!

    • Hi Dorien, Thank you very much for bringing to my attention the poor quality of this post. I have re-written it with my heart and not with my head and hope it is more appropriate. My prayers go to your dad and your family.

      • Dorien says:

        I thank you. Sometimes things just hit differently as we are in different places of our lives. I liked your spin, just not the fact that you didn’t relist the 5 regrets in your own article. Thank you for your prayers, that means a lot. We are happy and sad at the same time and my dad’s journey will last a while longer, we hope. He’s been able to see grandchildren grow up and become adults and well as my youngest brother who was only 8 when he was initially diagnosed. In a way, cancer has been a gift to all of us. We’ve been able to truly treasure time spent with family but you are so right; so many do not see it until to late.

        I hope someone will read our conversation and stop and enjoy a small event, a few minutes of reflection or their kids. 🙂

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