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    January 16th, 2012

    ♬  And now, the end is here
    And so I face the final curtain
    My friend, I’ll say it clear
    I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

    I’ve lived a life that’s full.
    I’ve traveled each and ev’ry highway;
    But more, much more than this,
    I did it my way

    Regrets, I’ve had a few
    But then again, too few to mention…♬

    Lyrics by Paul Anka and set to music based on the French song “Comme d’habitude” composed in 1967 by Claude François and Jacques Revaux, recorded by Frank Sinatra, “My Way“.

    Holding Hands with Child

    This is a guest post by Bronnie Ware.  I read it this weekend and immediately asked for permission to post it as a guest post, as I think this article has an important message that is particularly meaningful for lawyers and their families.  So in Bonnie’s words:

    For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

    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. Here are the most common five:

    1. 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 realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

    It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

    2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

    This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. 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. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

    3. 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 and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

    We cannot control the reactions of others. However, 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. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

    4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

    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. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

    It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

    5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

    This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise 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 their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

    When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

    Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

    Original Link: http://inspirationandchai.com/Regrets-of-the-Dying.html

    Bio: Bronnie Ware is a writer and songwriter from Australia who spent several years caring for dying people in their homes. She has recently released a full-length book titled ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing’. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed through the regrets of the dying people she cared for. For more information, please visit Bronnie’s official website at www.bronnieware.com or her blog at www.inspirationandchai.com.

    Thanks Bronnie for reminding us in what is truly important in our lives and giving us an opportunity to change so that, when the time comes, if we leave with regrets, they are too few to mention.

    This entry was posted on Monday, January 16th, 2012 at 8:49 am and is filed under Change Management, Issues facing Law Firms, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Tips, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    One Response to “REGRETS OF THE DYING”
    1. Ben Ziegler Says:

      Thanks for sharing this David. Its a great article… life lessons, for sure. This post reminded me of an interview I recently watched on PBS with the author of “30 Lessons of Living” in which 1,000 Americans over age of 65 where asked for their “big” life lessons learned… I remember the author (Karl Pilemer) saying the #1 lesson boiled down to… life is short, be present in the moment… which I think echoes much of what Bronnie discovered.

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