Several years ago, palliative nurse Bronnie Ware wrote a memoir entitled “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying.” She collected first-hand quotes from those who were at the end of their lives, tallied them up and concluded the five most common regrets they shared.
By examining these regrets up close, we can get an idea of what we too can expect to feel (at least on a conscientious level) when one day at death’s door ourselves. Let’s take a look together, and see what we can learn while we still have the time.
Regret #1- “I wish I’d lived my life true to me, and not to the expectations of others.”
Everyone feels pressure from others, whether from parents, friends, or society in general. We all feel pressure to look a certain way, behave a certain way, and even feel a certain way. If we don’t, we’re considered “strange” or “different.” Those who are dying want us to say loud and proud, “So what?” This is your life and not anyone else’s. Do what brings you joy. Don’t waste time comparing your life to anyone else’s. Nothing is a competition or a race!
Regret #2- “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
The rat race gets most of down on a daily basis. Society says we must go to college and then to work, pay off our loans and contribute to our 401K for decades, only to retire with just enough time to live life how we actually want to. But the dying encourage us to take on a different perspective. It was never about the company or the money or the recognition, they say. All of that fades away. It was always about the relationships. Nurture them.
Regret #3- “I wish I had shared my thoughts and feelings more openly.”
It’s so easy to hold in our feelings. It’s not so easy to hold our tongue when we need to get a point across, but for some reason we do it all the time. The dying say, Stop! To think that one day we will be out of time like them, and will have lost our chance to tell our loved ones just how much they mean to us - or what was really on our mind the whole time. Think about that, and don’t let another opportunity to do so go to waste.
Regret #4- “I wish I had stayed better connected to my loved ones.”
This regret comes in at #4 on Ware’s list, but it may be the saddest of them all. Why do we keep our precious friends and family, who are so very important to us, in the back of our minds? After all, it should be so easy to keep in touch with loved ones, especially in this day and age of social media. But we’re just too busy and it’s too easy to think, “I’ll call them tomorrow.” Or, “I’ll reply to that text message once I’m done doing this…” only to forget about it entirely. No…call your loved one today. Reply to that text message sooner rather than later. Because the day is coming when one of you won’t be on the other end of the line.
Regret #5- “I wish I had been happier.”
Happiness is a choice - this is something that the dying wish they had realized sooner. Attitude really is everything, and true joy can be found in even the most unhappy of circumstances. Don’t take a single moment of life for granted. Live in the moment and really learn to be mindful of each and every breath you take, every bite of food you taste and every song you feel in your heart. Most of all, be thankful for what you have in life. You never know what the next day will bring…when it will all end…and when you’ll be out of time.
Learn more about Bronnie Ware and her memoir at her website: bronnieware.com/
If you have been asked to give the eulogy at the funeral of a loved one, your first thought is probably, “Yes! Absolutely I will. What an honor.” But after some time passes, you begin to think of everything that goes into the writing process. There are memories to gather and record, and important names and dates to remember. You have questions regarding how long your eulogy should be and whether or not you should include this or that. Once you do finally get all your thoughts together, you have to then figure out how you’re going to organize everything so that it makes sense to your listeners. Not to mention you are probably looking at a deadline.
Besides all of this, there are the inevitable emotions that will come with writing and preparing your eulogy - because you are literally sorting through memories in your heart of your loved one and all the times you had together. So…needless to say, it can be a very draining process.
Not everyone has the means to hire a professional writer to do it for them, or even family or friends who are able to help. So Eulogies by Aubrey is offering anyone who needs it this free eulogy template. All you have to do is copy the questionnaire we’ve created below, paste it into your word processor, fill in the blanks, and then print it out for the day of the funeral.
Please note: This is a very general outline that is meant for an adult. If you are needing a eulogy outline for a child, pet, or young adult, please message me here and I will be happy to send you a separate template. Generally speaking, eulogies contain about 1,000 words and take between 6 and 8 minutes to deliver. But this is by no means a rule. Your finished eulogy may be longer or shorter than that, depending on your answers. And of course, feel free to add your own sections if you'd like.
Hello everyone, and thank you for being here today. For those who don't know who I am, my name is _____________________ and I am ________________________'s _____________________. It's so very difficult for me to be standing in front of you today as we all prepare to say goodbye to ___________________, but at the same time I'm extremely honored to share with you a little bit about (his/her) life and legacy.
____________________ was born on ___________ to ____________ and ____________.
(He/she) passed away, much too soon, on _______________. There is no possible way for me to even try and iterate the life that was lived in between those two dates, but in the short time that I have today, I'm going to do my best.
___________________ grew up in ___________________, and spent much of (his/her) childhood in ____________________. (He/she) was one of ______ children. Childhood years brought with them many memories, one of which was _____________________
_____________________________________. Another story from childhood that _____
____________ liked to share was _____________________________________________
But carefree childhood days don't last forever, and soon _______________________ was a young adult and ready for adventure! At the age of _____, (he/she) decided that the time was right to ___________________________________________________. (He/she) eventually graduated from __________________________ and then made the decision to ___________________________________. (He/she) worked at _______
____________________ for ________ years.
The year was ______ when ____________________ met and fell head over heels in love with ____________________________. There was no other love story in history like the love story between ______________________ and _____________________! They dated for _________ and were united in matrimony on _____________________.
These two journeyed through the ups and downs of life together for ________ wonderful years...although I'm quite sure it wasn't nearly long enough.
For those of you here today who knew _____________________ in life, you probably know just how I'm about to describe who they were. To describe _________________
in just a few words is very hard, but if I had to, I'd choose the words ______________
_____________________________________. And if anyone knew how to live life to its fullest, it was ______________________. Some of (his/her) favorite hobbies included
(He/she) also loved _________________________________ and even _______________
____________________________. But something you may not know, is that ________
And if there was one thing that never failed to put a smile on (his/her) face, it was
While ____________________ enjoyed many things in life, (he/she) knew the great
importance of doing for others. It brought (him/her) great joy to be able to help out
(his/her) fellow man by ____________________________________________________.
(He/she) was also known to _________________________________________________
whenever (he/she) got the chance to.
_____________________ was extremely blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family in (his/her) life, many of which are here today. I just want you to know that (he/she) did not take any of you for granted. I pray that you will always hold close to your heart the wonderful memories you have of _____________________. I
know (he/she) did of you, too.
And _____________________ had so much to be proud of. But there is no doubt that (he/she) was certainly most proud of _________________________________________
Personally, I have so many cherished memories with ___________________________,
sweet, sweet memories that I will always keep close in heart and mind. And I will continue to re-visit these memories as the years go by. I want to share just a few of them with you, today, if I may. One time, ______________________________________
________________________________. Another precious memory I have is __________
And finally, I'd like to share one last sweet memory of __________________ with you all today: _________________________________________________________________
Before I close, I would like to share with you one of ____________________'s favorite (verse/poem/song lyric/quote). I think it really shows just what kind of a person
_____________________ was and just how full (his/her) heart was: ________________
Thank you all again for being here as we say goodbye to ________________________.
I know that the past several days have been extremely difficult for us all, but I
hope that we can find peace in knowing that ______________________ is at peace now. No more pain, no more suffering, no more death. I also want to show my gratitude to ______________________________ for _____________________________
as we've gone through the motions and plans for today. There is not one word of encouragement or support that was spoken to us over these past several days that we will not be eternally grateful for.
Last but not least, I want to say thank you, and goodbye for now, to ______________.
You may be gone, but you will never be forgotten. Your memory and legacy will live on as we do, in our hearts, minds and souls forever. I love you, ___________________.
We hope that this template brings you a little bit of reassurance that yes, you can create a quality eulogy in memory of your loved one without any unnecessary struggle. Remember, if all else fails, Eulogies by Aubrey is available 24/7 to help you write your eulogy. We are honored to be of assistance.