Saturday, June 5, 2010

NOW - The ones we love

Over Memorial Day weekend, I took some time to go up and visit my parents (#21 on the list).  It was good to get to see them and it was actually a fairly relaxing day for the three of us.  I watched the race on TV (with Dad) and worked on some craft projects (with Mom).  In the evening we decided to go up and put some flowers on the graves of my mom's mom and dad as well as her brother that died in 2000.  May 20th marked 10 years since he died and so many things have changed in our lives and relationships with my aunt and cousins since then that I never could have imagined.

There are lots of thing that I regret that I didn't say or do before they each died.  My uncle Steve battled brain cancer for quite a long time and I wish that I could have done or said more for him.  I know that his wife was struggling (and probably in denial) and that his children (they were 14 and 18 when he died) were probably not prepared for his death when it came.  After all, how can you be when you're just a child?  I wish I had been equipped with the words that they needed then.  I wish I could have told them how much I loved them.  I wish their hearts would have been open to hear what I had to say.  Unfortunately things have changed too much since then and I fear the wounds that are there can never be healed.

My regrets about the things I didn't say or do for my Grandpa are even more.  I remember the last time I saw him.  It was at an Easter party at my aunt's house and I had gone out to take a walk.  I was gone for probably an hour and when I got back, he had left to go home and I didn't get to say goodbye.

I didn't get to say goodbye.

A few weeks later, I thought about going up to visit him over the weekend.  He lived about 3 hours north of me and I didn't go to visit nearly enough.  He was in the midst of a divorce and I think that he was probably a bit lonely living so far from his family.  I thought about the visit and then got busy with my life here.  That was the weekend he died.

I didn't get to say goodbye.

There were so many conversations I wish could have had with him and so many questions I wish I had asked.  He was a WWII Navy Veterans and enjoyed telling stories about his time in "the service".  I wish I had listened to more stories.

I can't go back and change those things, but I can try to do things differently now.  Those regrets that haunt me are the reason that I put some of the things on my list.  My parents were young when they had me, so they are still pretty young.  The problem is that none of us is getting any younger and when I think that the number of Christmases we may have together is dwindling, it makes it even more important that I try to see them as often as possible.

I'm trying to use the time I have now the best way I can.  When given the choice between spending time with my loved ones or doing the laundry, I know that the laundry will always be there.  My loved ones may not be.  Now is when they are here and now is when I try to tell them I love them. 


Joan Young Spotswood said...

"When you know do better" Maya Angelou

Heather said...

Thanks Joan. I can always count on you to say something to lift my spirits.


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