Edith Piaf Didn’t – Why Should You?

Reading & Writing

A palliative nurse called Bronnie Ware has written a book about her patients called ‘Top Five Regrets Of The Dying’, and of the things people regretted in their lives, intriguingly, being insulted by Simon Cowell on a talent show didn’t make the cut. It’s sobering and often heartbreaking reading.

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. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”

2. I wish I hadn’t worked 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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

3 comments on “Edith Piaf Didn’t – Why Should You?”

  1. Dan Terrell says:

    Isn’t that film poster another mock-up by your friend? Certainly that’s David Niven and he’s not listed. The actress’s face Clicks, but her name doesn’t Ping, for some reason.
    I would say that after Cannnes you are still ruminating on the human condition, so we can expect further interesting and reflective columns.
    I support all of these, but some in moderation. Striving to keep an inner balance through life, like a well-spun top, is actually a very satisfying thing; and living well with people should not just be an ideal. The last on her list (#5) I particularly believe in, as long as it’s “proper” laughing and not laughing at, unless it’s laughing at yourself. And well-done silliness is a great re-positioner. The world can always use more Gong Show.

  2. Luxorjr says:

    The poster is the one produced to promote the BFI screening of ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ back in 2000.
    It’s a very nice poster (I bought one recently).
    The film stars David Niven and Kim Hunter (pictured).
    As a small piece of trivia Kim Hunter also played Dr Zira in the Planet of the Apes film series.

  3. Nostalgia.Detected says:

    Reading through that list actually made me want to run and hide under my comfort blanket! They are all things that do take a lot of courage and it’s so much easier to maintain the status quo isn’t it! I sometimes sit and imagine doing things differently – even just wearing clothes that express my personality more than jeans and black sweat shirt but I never follow through.

    I recently came across a photo of myself aged about 12 and I was shocked to see how much I’d changed. The girl staring out of the photo at me went her own way and didn’t do things just because everyone else did. I can’t remember when that changed but I carry it with me now and hope there’s still a bit of her inside me.

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