As I sit here, I’m remembering all the great times that I had with my mom. We were tight! She was my hero and until my younger brother came along – ten years later – I spent a lot of time with her, helping around the house and learning the basics of how to cook. So now here I am, choking back the tears of regret as I type this. I am hoping I will not fry my keyboard as I allow the real emotions of pain and regret wash over me and shed the tears that have been absent… until now (mom died in early December). I am shocked at how much regret I feel for even leaving home as an eighteen-year-old. Well not so much for leaving home but for moving 1500 miles away.
I had my mom in my home a total of six times over the next forty years and I regret that it was not a lot more times. Oh, I saw her many more times than that over the years as I went to see the family much more than they came out here. Mostly because I could afford the travel and they could not. Still, that is just one thing.
The mind can conjure up all kinds of things to cause you pain. Silly things like, ‘I robbed her of the pride she could have had if I had just paid more attention in school’ or ‘she desperately wanted a “nice set of dishes (nothing fancy mind you) for special occasions”, and by the time I realized that she had never got them, it was too late. She was now living in her new home at ‘The Good Shepherd’ independent living home and there was no need for ‘special dishes’ anymore.
‘Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.’
1 Thessalonians 4:13
You have your list. The things unsaid or undone or … said and done, that haunt you as you allow these feelings to come over you…or maybe they just come…uninvited…and your heart breaks over and over, again and again.
In moments like these I find myself remembering Peter and I think, this is part of the human condition. We have regrets. Peter’s regret was that he did not stand by his Lord and say, ‘if you take him, you will have to take me too…yes I know him!’ In the end, when it was necessary, Peter gave his life for Jesus.
Then…I tell myself…wait a minute, these regrets are false and based in self-pity. The pain of loss has led you here. That is an aha moment! Maybe I can move on?
My name is Dennis. What’s your name?
What are some of the things unsaid or undone that you think about?
(Write in the comments below or email me)