River Of No Regrets - Part 2


It speeds by so quickly, doesn’t it? And we strive to find ways to protect our time: time with a spouse and family, time for meditation, time for recreation whether physical exercise, or a hobby we enjoy.

When mother moved near us I was careful to protect my time; it would have been so easy to spend it all with her to exclusion of me, my family, and other obligations. Mother needed help with almost everything, it seemed; and I was . . . the local son “on duty.”

Mother was not demanding. But I found myself arranging her grocery run on my way home from work (to save TIME, of course), and I seldom if ever lingered there with her once the delivery was made. After all . . . I had to get home.

We began a weekly dinner with her every Tuesday night; one week I would bring her to our house, the next week we would pick up food from a nearby restaurant she liked, then take it back to her apartment. It was a pleasant time, and both my wife and I were involved. But . . . we did not linger long after dinner; maybe a half hour or so. That is all.

I distinctly remember leaving mother one afternoon after I had delivered her groceries. I was in my typical “rush,” but she lingered at the door as we said, “Goodbye,” and I saw the sadness in her face. She said, “I wish you could stay longer.” (A tear comes to my eye as I write this)

But I did not stay.

Too soon it is all over.

Several of mother’s vertebrae rupturing one April night, calling 911 to get her help, meeting the fire department there, then following them to the hospital. Subsequent surgery on her back, then slow recovery in the hospital, then in rehab care. Other health complications gradually taking their toll. Being her advocate when some of┬áthe rehab facility workers did not treat her well. Doctor appointments and more doctor appointments (thanks to my uncle, mother’s baby brother, for helping with some transportation). Having her evaluated for a move to assisted living, then making the move itself.

Then . . . she was gone.

What I would give to go back. And linger . . . with her. Just dawdle. Just sit in chairs and watch TV together (if nothing more).

All she wanted was companionship. From someone she knew and trusted. Someone who was not a guest, or a newcomer in her life.

But I was too busy.

Oh yes. I have some regret.


  1. I absolutely feel the same way about the last months with my dad. I was “busy” with “my” life and after all, I had cared for my husband for many years…why was I expected to care for someone else..even my own dad? I was selfish and I regret that I acted that way. I will never really forgive myself that I didn’t answer when my dad called and that he had to die alone..but my life has gone on.

    1. I’m sure you thought you were protecting yourself; you were weary already, and truthfully YOU DID NOT KNOW WHAT WAS AT STAKE in that moment. I understand the feeling of never being able to forgive yourself, however, YOU MUST ACCEPT YOUR HUMANNESS (even Jesus didn’t carry his own cross the whole way).

      The fact that you are sharing this (for the world to see), albeit anonymously, is the first step in your healing. In fact, I would wager that if you had it to do all over again you would do exactly what you now wished you had done. But at that moment you honestly WERE NOT ABLE to bear it. Your wrestling with it now shows how much you really do care.

      As is appropriate in all the tracks on this website, I would encourage you to take action:
      (1) Write out all your feelings about the situation.
      (2) Go to your Dad’s burial place and read it out loud to him.
      (3) Release yourself from the shackles of GUILT (and destroy what you’ve written to demonstrate that release, if you care to do so).

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