Inspiring Quotes for Caregivers: Top 5 Regrets of the Dying – 2/29/12
You may think this will be a depressing read because it mentions death, but it’s actually life-enriching! These ideas apply to all of us, whether we’re past, current or future family caregivers or care recipients.
Earlier this month I read an article at AARP.org by Bronnie Ware that really resonated with me. Ware is a hospice team member, whose patients were people who had gone home to die. She was with them for the last three to 12 weeks of their lives.
“People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal . . . every single patient found peace before departing. Every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced.”
Here are the most common themes and part of Ware’s commentary on each:
- 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 . . . 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.
- I wish I didn’t work so hard.
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.
- 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 . . . 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.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
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 they deserved.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Many did not realize 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 themselves, that they were content . . . How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
I really love Ware’s last line in this article:
Life is a choice. It is your life. Choose consciously, choose wisely and choose honestly. Choose happiness.
Which of the above thoughts hits closest to home for you?
What actions will you take today to create a richer, more meaningful life before it’s too late? Please share your ideas in the comment section below!
You can read the full article online by clicking here.