It is one thing to regret something you did …. or something you said that you probably shouldn’t have… but what about something you should have done ~ but didn’t?
I am not referring to the failed opportunities you were given when you could not quite hit the mark.
Or the countless times you heard “No”. At least you put yourself out there and, in the end, it just might have made you a stronger, better person.
I am referring to something like a relationship you did not nurture or (in my case) the opportunity I did not take.
I wish I had told my parents how very much I loved and appreciated them. I wish I could have said thank you for the great life they gave me. Their strong faith, deep love for each other, and a shared sense of humor filled me with admiration.
My parents were getting older, and it began to dawn on me that one day our precious time together would come to an end. I began to think about the things I longed to say to them. For example, how much I appreciated their encouragement and support with decisions I made such as deciding to get bangs cut when I was a preteen to raising my children as a young mother. From the painful decision I shared with them when I decided to end a marriage to the joyful decision of purchasing a home by myself.
From my childhood, I fondly recalled many moments of playful teasing, joyful conversations around the dinner table, and listening to my dad tell jokes – he sure had a way with words! Everyone loved my parents and was drawn to their warm, gentle and humble natures. I wish they had known how proud I was to introduce them to my friends!
A few years before they died, I decided I would go over to their house and let my heart talk. I tried to plan ahead, and I found myself getting “choked up” just “thinking” about the words I wanted to say. (That is just the way I am when emotions hit. My voice usually cracks, and tears begin to trickle down my face as I struggle to get the words out. My throat literally seems to close up.) I was concerned it would upset them to see me struggle. I could imagine their worried faces and their effort to try to console me forcing me to stop before I was finished. Would they tell me they did what they did because they loved me, and my thanks was not necessary? On the other hand, if I actually could speak clearly, would I have been able to remember every single thing I wanted to say?
Unfortunately, I concerned myself with these obstacles for so long that I ran out of time. I know how much they would have appreciated those words of love and thanks. What parent wouldn’t? I did get the opportunity to say a few things to my mom as she lay dying (16 years ago), but I am not sure if she even heard or understood. I would like to think she did. Unfortunately, my dad died quickly (20 years ago) with just my mother by his side in spite of the effort all of us kids made as we rushed as quickly as we could to get there.
I know they knew I loved them. We said those words so often to each other. I just hope they knew how very much.
I am older and wiser now and am more confident I could actually speak the words coherently. I now long to give a voice to the words in my heart to some of the dearly loved people in my life – and I intend to get started.
“I didn’t get to tell him all the things I had to say…I just wish I could have told him in the living years” – Mike & the Mechanics, 1988