Dying Regrets



Juliana Christina, via Flickr

How can regret help a person live a better life? Marina Santee and Mike Procter look at Bronnie Ware, and her work with dying people.

Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Marina Santee.

Voice 2

And I’m Mike Procter. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand - no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 3

I wish I had more time with my family.

Voice 4

I wish I had seen my friends more often.

Voice 1

People often have regrets like these. Bronnie Ware heard many of these regrets from people who were dying. She discovered these regrets can help other people. It can help them choose how to live a better life. Today’s Spotlight is on Bronnie Ware and the regrets of dying people.

Voice 2

Bronnie Ware lives in Australia. Several years ago she needed a job that would give her a place to live. So she became a companion and moved into the house of her employer. She was like a helpful friend to her employer Ruth. But soon Ruth became very sick - she was dying. So Bronnie cared for her until she died.

Voice 1

Then Bronnie truly discovered her new job. She became a palliative carer. She cared for people who would not recover - they were dying. Bronnie would be with them for 12 hours a day. She cared for their physical needs. And she was with them when they died.

Voice 2

Bronnie was a palliative carer for eight years. She cared for people in the last 3 to 12 weeks of their lives. Bronnie spent a lot of time alone with her patients. She shared some very special times with them. Bronnie is also a singer and song writer. So sometimes she sang songs to her patients. She talked with them a lot. She told ABC Radio National that she also listened to them a lot.

Voice 5

”People do not have much to do at the very end of life. But they do talk. They do not have the energy to do anything else. So my job became that of a listener.”

Voice 1

Bronnie’s patients talked about their lives and their memories. Some patients remembered their lives with happiness. But many patients had regrets. They regretted how they had lived their lives. Bronnie found that many of them regretted the same things.

Voice 2

Five common regrets appeared time and time again. Bronnie wrote about her experience in her internet blog. Millions of people were interested in what she wrote. So she also wrote a book. The book is called 'The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.' Bronnie wrote about the five most common regrets that dying people had. For each common regret she also made suggestions. She tells people how to avoid having these regrets at the end of their lives.

Voice 1

Here is the first regret:

Voice 6

“I wish I had had the courage to live a life true to myself. I wish I had not lived the life other people expected of me.”

Voice 1 

Bronnie said that this was the most common regret of all. She wrote on her blog:

Voice 5

“When people are dying they look back at their lives. They see how many of their dreams have not been satisfied. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams. They died knowing this was a result of the choices they had made, or not made”.

Voice 2

Bronnie suggests that it is very important to try and act upon some of your dreams. She says that many people understand this after they become sick. But by then, it is too late.

Voice 1

The second regret is:

Voice 6

“I wish I had not worked so hard.”

Voice 1

Bronnie said that working too hard was a very common regret. This was particularly true of the men who were her patients. They spent too much time working on their jobs. So they missed spending time with their families.

Voice 2

The third common regret is:

Voice 6

“I wish I had had the courage to express my feelings.’

Voice 2

Bronnie comments that many people suppressed their feelings. They hid their emotions to keep peace with other people.

Voice 5

“As a result, they settled for an average life. They never became who they were truly able to be.”

Voice 1

And the fourth regret:

Voice 6

“I wish I had stayed connected with my friends.”

Voice 1

Bronnie found that her patients missed their old friends. When her patients were dying, they valued these old friends. Dying people understood the importance of friendship more. But by then it was not always possible to find these old friends.

Voice 5

“Many had become very busy in their own lives. They had let special friends disappear over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friends enough time. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

Voice 2

Finally, the fifth regret:

Voice 6

“I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

Voice 2

Bronnie was surprised that this was a common regret. She says that many people do not understand that they can choose happiness. They only understand this as they are dying.

Voice 5

“They had stayed fixed in old ways. Fear of change had them fooling other people that they were satisfied with life. They were also fooling themselves. Life involves choosing. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.”

Voice 1

Bronnie learned from caring for dying people. She learned from their regrets. Now she thinks about regrets before she decides to do something. She wonders if she will regret deciding to do it. Or regret deciding not to do it. She finds this a helpful tool.

Voice 2

Many people read Bronnie Ware’s blog and book. It makes many people think about their regrets. The news website, the Guardian online, published an article about Bronnie’s work. Many people read it and shared their regrets. One person regretted not seeing more of the amazing things in the world. Another man regretted not taking life more slowly. He regretted not taking time to stop and look at things.

Voice 1

Daniel Vogler is 23. He read about Bronnie Ware and dying regrets. He is still young, but it made him think about how he chooses the direction of his life. On his website Daniel imagines that he is 95 or 100 years old. He does not want to have dying regrets. He wants to be satisfied with his life. He wants to know that he lived his life to its fullest. Like Bronnie, Daniel has made a list. His list is about living a full life. A life with no regrets. Like Bronnie, he also talks about choosing with care and purpose:

Voice 7

“Remember what is truly important in life every morning. Be purposeful about who you relate to. Do not let your situation dictate this. Enjoy God being with you. And enjoy the gift of life.”

Voice 1

The writer of today’s programme was Katy Blake. The producer was Nick Mangeolles. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can find our programmes on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This programme is called ‘Dying Regrets’.

Voice 2

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight programme. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you think you will have regrets when you die? What can you do to avoid having regrets?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
EBY
said on August 10, 2012

HELLO EVERYBODY I WANT TO TELL MY STORY TO SUPPORT THESE IDEAS:
A FEW MONTHS A GO I WENT MOUNTAIN CLIMBING AND ONE OF MY KNEES BADLY HURT AND I HAD TO SEE A SURGEON . I WENT TO AN OPERATION ROOM FOR A SURGERY AFTER THAT I THOUGHT I RETURN FROM DYING AND I HAD A LOT OF REGRETS. I THOUGHT THAT I DEDICATED SHORT TIME TO MY FAMILY AND MY FRIENDS . I WAS NOT SO HAPPY ABOUT MY LIFE . I LIVE FOR OTHERS NOT MYSELF AND I USED TO WORK A LOT ,BUT NOW I WILL CHANGE MY IDEAS I LIKE TO SPEND MUCH MORE TIME WITH MY FAMILY AND MY FRIENDS . I WILL REDUCE MY EXTRA TIME AT WORK .I LIKE TO LIVE AS I LIKE NOT OTHERS . I LIKE TO LIVE MUCH MORE HAPPIER THAN BEFORE AND AT THE END I WANT TO HAVE MINIMUM REGRETS WHILE DYING .HAVE A GOOD TIME.

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Blue Lotus
said on August 10, 2012

hey eby, U will not regret more, right now, do everything that U haven’t finished, say lots of love words to your lover without shyness, join the peace and even simple things around you. Hope you happy.

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kenhieuloilam
said on August 10, 2012

We wish to become good persons of family, community and the life. All of us try much to live our lives well. We try much to do good things. We try much to keep away from not good things. We love the life. We love everyone. We love good things. We respect good things. We experience difficulties, challenges and sufferings in the life. We wish true happiness. Good things exist. We regret not good things.

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Rain Bows
said on August 10, 2012

Hi Spotlight,
Thanks for the program.
To not have regrets we have to do things good every time and when we fail it should never be cause we didn’t put the biggest effort to do our best.
We have to be constant and know that for a minute of happiness there is hours and hours of effort. Let’s try to do our best every time!
Nice program, I think Bronnie Ware’s job was interesting and it enriched her with other lives experiences.
Greetings to everyone.
SofĂ­a Miketta,
Manta-Ecuador.

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georgino
said on August 11, 2012

Thank you for this topic is very good and for reflexion.For that I believe that the life is wonderful but we have to know how to live.
We must to control our emotions and to express our feelings. to live fullest to realize our goals fighting every day. I agree we must have time for all. so I don’t want to have dying regrets in my life. I want to live happy and make happy to other people too.

Have a good day follow ahead.

Quito

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EBY
said on August 16, 2012

HelloBlue Lotus how are you today?
I want to thank you about your suggestions . I think you do not have anyregrets so I am so happy about it .
I hope you a happy life .
Give my regard to your family.
good bye.

Avatar Spotlight
thanhdung07121985@gmail.com
said on September 16, 2013

I think we should live a good life,be a kind person.We can recognize which bad/good things.
And don’t let bad things harm us.Because we not only live ourselves but also live for family,relative example you should work hard,have good behavior,save money for future plan or for helping family…Don’t let regret happen to us.At that time every is too late!

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vivianhuang
said on September 17, 2013

Dying regrets is a serious topic I think.We can not choose when to die or how to die.It is impossible there is no regrets at the very end of your life.But we can make your regrets less and less.Life is so short.We have so many things to do everyday,such as taking good care of your parents,your children and yourself,working harder which to make yourself to live a better life and so on.Life is so busy.We should enjoy every moment in our lives.Enjoy doing what you do and smile a lot.Life will be better and better.I heard that when you smile to life and life will smile to you as well.I deeply believe that.
BTW,Rain Bows,I do not think Bronnie Ware’s job is interesting.I think Bronnie must have a very strong heart.Because she have to listen regrets from the dying people.Most of those regrets are unhappy things.How can Bronnie stand that?She is so great and she must be an awesome woman.Good job,Bronnie Ware.

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Dela
said on September 22, 2013

All people make mistakes in different ways on their life path. It is important if they realize mistakes and try to correct them during life, then they don’t have to regret at all when death come. Dying person cannot repair the mistakes from the past life, unfortunately. That’s too late.
Thanks for an interesting article!

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on July 27, 2016

As a Christian believer, I will not regret when the dying coming because, On the first hand I have handed over my life to my Lord Jesus Christ and therefore I’m satisfied with my life that God planned for me. On the scaund hand I have done all what I can for achieve my dreams and happy life whither that dreams was or not. Thanks God.
God bless you

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on July 27, 2016

For example,  one dream in my life is flaunting English but if I can’t I won’t regret, well God.
God bless you again