Regrets of the dying

April 1, 2013

A friend has been told his cancer is terminal.

I am in awe of the courage and dignity with which he is facing his illness and death and his determination to live well until he dies.

I thought of him when I came across this on Facebook.

What would you cherish?

It is based on a post by palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware who wrote:

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. . .

The five above were the most common.


If you’re making New Year resolutions . . .

December 31, 2011

. . . Regrets of the dying might help you decide what to resolve to do and not do:

After working in palliative care Bronnie Ware came up with five things many people who were dying wished:

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.

As Barking Up the Wrong Tree says: To them, these were regrets. For us, maybe the above can be a checklist of what not to do.

And for advice on how to make resolutions you’re more likely to keep, I read on a website I can no longer find * that it’s better to resolve to be better than to be good.

From memory, the theory behind this was that even a tiny, wee bit better is still an improvement and therefore something to celebrate whereas being good is more an absolute which is much harder to achieve.

* Don’t you hate it when that happens? Memo to self, resolve to keep record of useful websites so can find them again.


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