Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

A viral list raced around social media over the summer, purportedly written by a nurse about the top 5 regrets they’d heard from dying patients over the years. I didn’t read it because I don’t believe many of these stories are real, but the thought stuck with me.

I don’t have my own deathbed regrets yet as I’m only at midlife, but I do know the regrets I want to avoid. Here are the five I couldn’t tolerate having at the end of my life:
1. I mistreated others. Plato is quoted as saying, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” That pretty well sums it up for me.
2. Those who meant a lot to me didn’t know it. Hundreds of people have made my life awesome, enriched, rewarding, bearable, worthwhile. The very least I can do to repay them is to make sure they know what they meant to me.
3. I didn’t say thank you.
4. I didn’t live an authentic life. I have had a long, arduous journey to find the person I was meant to be. I must follow it with the courage to live life as that person.
5. I didn’t make the world a better place. Most of us will be forgotten within a generation of our deaths. But if I made a difference for a handful of others while I was here, then my life was worthwhile.

Wish me luck.

“Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” –Sydney J. Harris


About Kelly J. McCleary

Wife and mother of three, author, financial professional View all posts by Kelly J. McCleary

One response to “Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

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