Bronnie Ware:Top five regrets and the dying. London Florist shares

Beloved Flower Lover,

Many people have been coming to us recently for get well flowers or sympathy flowers. We have had conversations about nursing homes. We have been honoured to be able to have conversations with lots of people going into and coming out  of hospital. Some have been children as young as three or four, some have been adults in their fifties, some have been much older. It was wonderful to be just hanging out with them as we decided on what sorts of flowers they might want to give to their loved ones. A lot of time like this led to finding the wonderful works of Bronnie Ware who talks about how to let go. We offered our flowers as a gentle form of comfort at this time.

grass cala lily and Mrs L.V.Rose vase

Bronnie, a palliative nurse who has counselled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives. And among the top, from men in particular, is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’.

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,” she says, “common themes surfaced again and again.”

Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:

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.

Our team have talked about passing over a lot during the last two months. The care, the nurture, the protectiveness, the dignity and grace. A couple of the team have been talking about how they have been using this discussion to shift their feelings towards death, dying and transformation. One woman in particular says this,

“After going to sleep each night and weighing up our day I find ourselves asking our conscience many questions about how I lived our life that day.  I  redo or undo any situation where I may have done harm and where I may have been harmed. I ask for their forgiveness. I ask for my own forgiveness. I send them and myself feelings of love, and peace. I create those feelings using colours, smells, lovely scenes of nature and seeing them receiving lovely gifts that make them smile brightly. I see their future as happy in someway. I give myself a gift and then fall asleep in peace”

Mmmmmmmmmm we wondered, mmmmmmmmm

The Team

The London Flower Lover


About Thelondonflowerlover

Welcome to The London Flower Lover. We are florists who create floral collections to tell your real life story. With colour and texture, we take floristry into an entirely new direction based on the challenges and joys of your life. Offering what we call 'heart based floristry' we use style, fashion, and life situations and merge them with heart based lifestyle support. This inspiring blend creates so much more for those who love flowers. Using flowers in the traditional way of course, but always using flowers to open up a floralicious conversation about relationships of all kinds. We are a sort of work in progress of compassionately confirming how we are already on the inside, the love we want to see out in the world. That is mission of The London Flower Lover. So saying yes to recognising that is at the heart of this blog and using flowers to honour that inner world is how we use the beauty of giving and receiving flowers. This blog is your blog. It's as much about cultivating your heart, as it is about enjoying the physical beauty of flowers. It offers story, poems and video to reflect the life you actually live whilst showing beautifully inspiring collections of flower designs. Hand-tied bouquets, arrangements and more. All this with sought after tips from well established experts on how to keep a happy heart. This is what makes The London Flower Lover unique and magical. Yes, and that's how we make the difference that we do. When life looks, feels, or sounds challenging, we offer a sanctuary that you may dip into. A well of refreshment and strength that you may draw from. Sharing what others have found to be successful ways of being happy in the face of challenges, whilst letting flowers do the talking when we have no other way to interpret what is going on. Use flowers to help you re-discover, reveal and remember how you can still be despite challenges. Use flowers to celebrate and to embody the possibility of your heart felt desire, fulfilled. Use flowers in your life, to remind you of the beauty of your life. Use The London Flower Lover today. We invite you to stay curious in this floral universe as you explore the love in the heart. This is a floralicious world.
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18 Responses to Bronnie Ware:Top five regrets and the dying. London Florist shares

  1. NinaRejoyces says:

    I’m happy that I read this. I can relate to three of these and I see that I need to make changes so that I won’t feel the same way at the end of my life.


    • Now we feel we have done our work! That is exactly why we shared this post. We give thanks for your very honest response. We too have been reflecting on it as a very intimate and gentle gift.As lovely as the flowers we work with. Thanks for popping by!


  2. This is ever so timely–at *all* times, really. There’s always someone in need around us! But at the moment, both my spouse and I have ailing parents and are surrounded by the questions of what kind of health interventions can or should be made, where all of the parents can or should live, what they desire and need most, and all of that. It means that the conversation with them is focused on quality of life issues, but also that we ourselves revisit more deeply our own questions on quality and end-of-life and what we long for most. May we all be as wise and caring as Ms Ware–and as graceful as a gentle floral artwork. Happy days to you,


    • It’s sensitive topic that allows us to open ourselves up to ways that we can communicate care. We give thanks for the wonderful work of Ms Ware and being able to share that amongst the friends in our community. We are all taped into the principles of life and all its parts. Death and preparation for the transition is so important for us all. It transforms us all. Thank you for sharing your intimate thoughts so easily and choosing honestly to make the current days of your parents as loved filled as possible. By the way, the floral work we choose to share, was placed into a vase created by one of our teams elderly mother. So it was our opportunity to honour her too.


  3. nccmrm97 says:

    Reblogged this on Here Is What I Like and commented:
    Lessons to remember


  4. utesmile says:

    Reading this makes us more alive as we don’t want to have those regret, certainly not me…. so Live Now !


    • It’s a lovely piece of work that Bronnie has shared with us and so valuable for us all to consider. Thank you for reminding us that it’s about appreciating the life we already find ourselves with now. It’s beautiful where we are right now. We give thanks and thank you for popping by.


  5. totsymae1011 says:

    This is a bit sad, though eye-opening. Takes a mighty strong and courageous person to get these kinda confessions. Makes me wanna live more courageously and with intention.


  6. Ed says:

    Great post! It made me think and to be honest in the 48 years I’ve been on this earth II had mant regrets but I now live “Carpe Diem” and live for the future not the past..:-))


    • Your comments have many echoes for many readers. We can only imagine you count your blessings now and give thanks for the fact that those experiences have made you who you are today. This transforms the regret into what it is. A gift. We love you whatever your regret. You are a gifted photographer. Those regrets have given you a very special eye on things. So without those ‘war wounds’ you would not be who we have come to love today. Mwah from us all here at the team


  7. Important post this. Thanks.


  8. Pingback: Death, Purpose and Flowers | The London Flower Lover

  9. Pingback: Nine Night, Dead Yard and the Jamaican Death Ritual Fact sheet and do you bring flowers yes or No? | The London Flower Lover

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