W is for Bronnie Ware: Learning From The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying

Bronnie’s life changed when she worked in palliative care. She found that many people experienced a sense of peace before they died.

Learning from them, she discovered that some had regrets. She found these often followed certain themes.

Bronnie began writing about these themes in a blog, which she later expanded into a book. Here are some excerpts from her work.

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 3 to 12 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.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

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

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

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.

Here is the link to Bronnie’s site, which includes her music and writing.


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