We all have experienced the pain of knowing that we missed an opportunity to tell someone how much they mean to us, how much we love and adore them, how much of a blessing their presence has been in our lives. When we miss these opportunities, we often have huge regrets. These regrets often are characterized by the “if onlys”.
“If only I had known there was so little time.”
“If only I had put myself aside for her”
“If only I had called, even though it means losing sleep”
Five weeks ago my great-aunt turned 90. A reasonably healthy woman, her eyes always show her wisdom, wit and humor. I did not call on her birthday, even though I had every intention to. I also never called her to ask her about our family history, something else I really wanted to know. Two nights ago she went into the hospital feeling sick and the next morning she died. It was that quick…… and the regret sets in. If only I had known her days were limited, I would have reached out……. if only I had known she was going to die, I would have let her know how much I love her and what an honor it was to have her in my life. If only I had known I would have asked her to share all of her knowledge about our family history….. BUT I did not know, and it is now too late. The legacy of an amazing woman is all that is left.
I realize that part of the problem with what happened is that I took life for granted. We do not really want to believe that the people we love will drift away. You or your friend could die tomorrow – spend each day with the understanding that it could be your last. Say what you mean and feel and let those around you know how much you love and appreciate them. Most people do not express a concern that they reach out too much…. and too much is ALWAYS better than too little.
Aunt Lil, RIP
March 9, 2012 at 02:05
i’m sorry for your loss,….and your regrets as well,……for those last much longer than any one “moment” of loss ever will…………in the bible were are told/commanded to “confess our faults”….when we do this,…others can grow without feeling alone,…….anyway……..
on his deathbed,…..my father asked me to be there with him,……who the hell wants to die lonely, right???????,………i left him there alone……….i made an excuse,…..one that could even be viewed as a legitimate excuse,…………..guess what?????……..it wasn’t
he had left me as a very young child,……and then when he was dying,….i just didn’t “think” that i could handle it??????,………now,……..i get to “handle” THE REST OF MY LIFE WITH THE MEMORIES OF LEAVING MY FATHER TO DIE……ALONE…….this was also the last chance, and i do mean THE VERY LAST CHANCE,….that i had to hear him tell me that he loved me,…………………….REGRETS…
INVISIBLE YES,………BUT NONETHELESS,……….POWERFULLY REAL……………thanks for sharing
March 9, 2012 at 21:34
Wow, Johnedoe – it sounds like you have lived this even more than I have…… The key, I suppose, is learning how to let go once it is too late to rewind and change things. Letting go is necessary so that we are not chained to the guilt forever.
Hang in there.
The Quiet Borderline
March 10, 2012 at 14:10
Sorry to hear about your loss.
Regrets are certainly not good to have. But we live and learn.
All the best,
The Quiet Borderline
March 10, 2012 at 22:01
Thanks, QT – you are so correct, we do live and learn from our regrets… and hopefully this is not a mistake I will be repeating!
March 11, 2012 at 05:11
You are so right, it’s such a good reminder to not take things for granted. I am so thankful I was able to spend time with my grandfather before he died to get our family history down on paper. Amazing stories that might otherwise be lost.
March 11, 2012 at 20:56
Thanks for your comment, Alvarezml. So sorry about your loss, but how wonderful that you were able to preserve those memories for generations to come!
March 19, 2012 at 06:53
Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way to much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!
March 19, 2012 at 07:59