An Australian nurse who has counselled the dying in their last days has revealed that the most common regrets they have at the end of our lives, and among the top, from men in particular, is "I wish I hadn't worked so hard."
Bronnie Ware, who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives.
She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called 'Inspiration and Chai', which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called 'The Top Five Regrets of the Dying', the Guardian reported.
Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom.
"When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again," she said
The top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware are "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."
She said that 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, she said.
Another was "I wish I hadn't worked so hard," which cane from most male patients.
They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship, Ware said.
Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners.
Thirdly, it was "I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings."
Ware said that any 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.
Fourth was "I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends."
Ware said that 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, she added.
Lastly, it was "I wish that I had let myself be happier."
Ware said that this is a surprisingly common one, as many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice.
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, she said. (ANI)