Regret is a difficult thing to get over. It can eat at one's psyche like a cancer and force a person to relive painful memories over and over. I've gotten caught up in regret before. The problem with regret is it forces a person to stand still, feet wedged in the past, with eyes looking inward rather than forward or outward. Sometimes the best way to resolve regret is to start living in the moment. I used to get really mad at people and feel unable to let go of my resentments. I'm not saying today I am perfect, but today I am aware. Today I see the day beginning with the sun and ending with the moon, rather than the day starting with yester-year's ski injuries and ending with an untelling future that I am unable to nagivate.
I can still remember that last week of my father's life, and my inability to get over things that I thought were so important at the time. I wedged myself in a long-winded battle of resentments and I had forgotten what was really important. Next week I kept telling myself. Next week I will call my dad and work things out. Next week we will visit. Next week we will finally understand each other. You know what, there never was a next week. While I know deeply that he died with love in his heart towards me, because my father and I were so close and in some ways the same person to our core, there is still so much I needed to say to him before he passed. So many words that I still need him to hear.
When a person in your life that you love so much dies suddenly, it forces a new reckoning. So today I am doing things differently.
This week my sister recently called to ask if she should come out to Los Angeles to visit with my 87-year-old grandmother who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's and has just been assigned to hospice. I went to visit bubby to bring her some joy and also to assess the situation. Although my grandmother cannot move on her own, cannot sit up with out assistance and has lost a tremendous amount of weight, she is still a light of life that shines as soon as she lays her eyes on her granddaughter. She took one look at me and smiled with so much joy, and I was immediately reminded of how much life can give even in the face of the end. The truth is I don't know when my bubby will decide to leave this world, but I do know, that she will continue to seek joy when we visit, and she will continue to get uplifted when she hears our voice on the phone. She will continue to enjoy the little things, like eating a turkey sandwich, watching my grandfather walk into a room, stroking my hair and gazing deeply into my eyes without telling me she is leaving me soon with words but with her stare.
And so my advice to my sister was that there are two things a person never regrets spending funds on, visiting someone they love and showing up to a celebration. Today let's do things differently. Let's live in the moment and learn from the past -- this is how we can reckon our regrets.