Top 5 Most Common Regrets of the Dying

Bonnie Ware spent many years working in palliative care, nursing patients in the final weeks of their lives. She shares what she says were the five most common regrets of the dying.

Dying by Alex Grey

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard. (“This came from every male patient that I nursed,” Ware wrote).

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

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

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

Bonnie Ware: Regrets of the Dying


  1. I put this up at FB and got a reply from a friend in UK who said:
    “I have the privilege of working within pallitive care. Most of my patients become resigned to dying at some point in the journey. What amazes me us the bravery of the dying, especially young people. I have never heard anyone express any regrets though!”

  2. My father’s regret was not being a good enough father to my older sister. Apparently he felt fine about me (and I harbor no resentments about it.) But it was a strange thing to hear, him admitting to regrets in the week before he died. My parents were (and my mother still is) among those “never apologize, never admit mistakes” types. It’s horrible on their close relationships, but it sustains them somehow, although I wonder how it will be when it comes my mother’s time to pass.

  3. I felt so inspired after reading this, I also wrote a blog post about it:

  4. I don’t think that I will regret dying. I think that I will be sad to leave my love ones,but other than that, nothing comes to mind now..I think I have lived so far a great life..

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