One of the Top Regrets of the Dying

One of the Top Regrets of the Dying

Written several years ago, the simple article “Top Five Regrets of the Dying” recounts the lessons learned by a hospice worker in Australia from her departing patients…


Bronnie Ware writes: “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 learned 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 is one of the most common comments:


“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”


Often they would not truly realize 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


Sorry for the bummer blog article, but in the whirlwind of our business lives this has surely happened to you and certainly I have been guilty of finding the time to stay in touch with my old friends over the years. So, I am now focused on reconnecting with my former business colleagues and friends to ensure that I won’t have this worry someday. I hope you will do the same.


Coach Dave

Dave Schoenbeck

Dave Schoenbeck

Dave Schoenbeck is a professional business and executive coach who translates complex business methods, processes, and strategies into actionable plans to dramatically improve financial results.
Dave Schoenbeck


  • Each year as part of my New Year’s resolution I commit myself to stop and make a phone call as soon as I can after someone pops into my mind. Whether it be someone I’ve only have seen or spoken to or someone from year’s past, I stop what I’m doing and make that phone call. It’s been wonderful catching up with old friends and co-workers from years ago. Just recently I’ve reconnected with a co-worker from 30 year’s ago. It’s been fun reconnecting and how touched she was to learn that I took the time to reach out after so many years. Very refreshing for both of us.

  • Katy

    A common misconception is that staying in touch with friends IS time-consuming. Take advantage of alerts like Facebook birthday reminders and LinkedIn work anniversary notifications – a quick line to a long-time friend on these occasions let’s them know you care and can often open a channel for a more in-depth catch up.

  • Sad but true. I think one way to “find time” is to call friends while driving around doing errands. In between each destination make a call. It might seem like you’re not giving them enough time to catch up but you probably weren’t giving them any time at all. So which is better?