Five Regrets of The Dying

In Friday's Saskatoon StarPhoenix John Gormley's column caught my attention. It was titled "Why we should listen to Rick Mercer". Turns out Rick Mercer is gay. And I'm happy to report that Gormley doesn't think it matters. As Gormley says, "Gay or straight, he's Rick Mercer and he's really good at his craft."

As interesting as the commentary was, it was the last part that has had me thinking since I read it. This is straight cut and paste from the article:

This week on my radio show the phone lines lit up when we talked about Bronnie Ware's Five Regrets of the Dying.

What began as a blog post went viral and is now a full-length book released this fall by the Australian writer and artist at

Ware worked for years in palliative care with patients who had gone home to die. From spending the final three to 12 weeks of life with people, she observed that while every patient went through a variety of emotions, each generally found peace at the end.

When asked if there's anything they'd do differently, Ware says patients expressed five common regrets. She explains them simply and powerfully:

  1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me - the most common regret of unfulfilled dreams.
  2. I wish I didn't work so hard - missing our children's youth and partner's companionship because of work.
  3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings - becoming resentful and bitter from suppressing our feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends - letting friendships slide and realizing that in the end it all comes down to love and relationships.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier - realizing that happiness is a choice that can break out of old patterns and habits.

Reading Ware's wisdom, it's helpful to know it is never too late to undo now what we might later regret.

In Ware's own words: "Life is a choice. It is your life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness."

Full Text

Thank-you Mr. Gormley and Ms. Ware. It really is food for thought.


  1. This post has brought tears to my eyes....I am sure my mom had all of those regrets last year. Those were all lessons mom learned too late. One of the only good friends she ever had she lost touch with, and the week after my mom died, the lady sent my mom a message on facebook...finally reunited...but a week too late. MY Mom never did anything for herself, everything was for us, but she forgot to take care of our mom:(
    Happiness is a choice. I have always said that. I have never been afraid to do anything, go anywhere, and be the person I want to be. It has not been easy, sometimes people have called me irrational and crazy...but in the end, whenever my end comes, I want to know I did everything I could to be the most happy and fulfilled person.

    After reading this post, I am going to spend more time with Emme and Jaiden. They are getting older and I have spent too much time worrying about my clean floors and not enough time rolling in the snow with them...

    Thanks for this post Jordan:)

    P.S. I had no idea Mercer was Gay...Kevin said "that explains why he is sooo funny" (apparently Kevin thinks gay guys are more funny than straight

  2. I totally agree about spending more time playing. Yesterday we were in a hurry to get out of the house when Calder started being silly. Because of that article I spent 45 seconds being silly with him until the moment passed. Last week I would have giggled and hurried him out the door.

    I didn't know about Mercer either! Kevin's comment cracks me up!


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