Live To Regret Little

It was the twilight part of a crisp autumn day. Where the day lingers to kiss the night with its colorful hello of streaks of red and purple in the sky.

There was a sickening feeling of anticipation and excitement that only months of planning could give you.

Nervousness sat in our throats.

My literary club, Writer's Block, was hosting a booth in the Haunted Hayride and we had worked so damn hard on it. I was busy decorating and rotating pumpkins and gourds just right so they looked perfect.

Just as I was getting ready to get my scary make up applied out of the corner of my eye, I saw my neighbor walk up slowly to my teacher.

They briefly talked and my teacher nodded her head curtly. I watched her face slack from slight annoyance from being interrupted to  instantly taut and strained.  I watched as she craned her neck to scan over our heads looking for me.

When she saw me she made no pretense of a smile, she just nodded her head at me and I knew I had to leave. I thought my mom was sick, which was something that was not uncommon. I quickly gathered my things and walked to my neighbor.

I wish I could say I was bummed but I was used to working hard at things and not seeing the fruition of my efforts. I wish there was a way that did not sound sad. Because it didn't feel sad, it felt normal.

Growing up with a sick grandfather who lived with us and a mother who was in and out of the hospital for multiple surgeries kind of puts things into perspective when it comes to plans.

Plans are plans. They mean nothing.

My neighbor just said I needed to go home because my mom needed to talk to me. There is no greater fear than when someone tells you someone needs to talk to you. Every scenario runs through your head. And none of are ever good.

I got into my neighbors green cavalier and waited for an explanation. I did not get one.

While listening to loud music and watching the scenery go by, I wondered what my mom needed to tell me.

When she dropped me off, I could hear my mom sniffling through the screen door. The kind sniffling you hear only after ugly crying.

My guts turned to stone. My throat became tight. When I walked in that tiny piece of shit house I could smell waxy cheap candles burning.

In the moment it took me to cross the threshold, I saw my mothers back to me and she had every picture of my aunt we owned sprawled on the table.

Her hands hovered by barely an inch over the photographs, poised like she wanted to reach into one and pull my aunt out.

My aunt was dead.

But I was so confused. My aunt was young and healthy and one of my favorite people in the world.

It did not make sense.

The door finally slammed shut and my mom was rudely interrupted in her moment. She shifted slightly but could not say anything. Her body heaved with sobs while I held her in an awkward hug.

My other aunt showed up with my uncle. They cried and talked and shared memories only sisters are privy to and I stood and watched.  I don't really remember crying. I did not feel right crying and intruding on their moment.

I did not cry until the end of her funeral actually. My uncle was shaking hands and accepting hugs and letting hollow words fall on his ears and he saw me.

He turned quickly and met me halfway in the middle of the aisle. We hugged and cried so hard.

He understood.

I felt our bodies wrack with sobs in tandem. Our chests heaved with the desire for a genie, a shooting star, anything fantastical so we could wish her back amongst us.

But that doesn't even happen in the movies.

She was one of the most special people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. She was able to draw me out of myself. Draw anyone out of themselves really. She would always call me her "youngest-old soul".

She loved animals and laughed loudly.

She threw great parties and fed everyone way too much food.

And she loved you for who you were. There was no judgment just love and acceptance.

It has been almost 15 years and I can remember her sweet smile and zest for life like it was yesterday.

I'm not sure why today made me want to write about her.

Maybe because I did not understand until her death that our time only has one ultimate ending. That we need to embrace the fact that we will die. We do not know when, or how. But we will.

Nothing we can do will change that. We need to live with the knowledge that this life is not a practice, it is not a dress rehearsal, this is not act one. This is it. This is our time to live our lives and say what is in our hearts and on our minds to the ones we love.

The biggest regrets we have, are the things we never did, the words we never said, opportunities missed, chances we let slip away and life we did not live.

I called my aunt, a couple days before she passed away. Our conversation was not long nor was it memorable. The only thing I remember was hearing the yearning in her voice to talk to me and me ignoring the nagging feeling to talk to her, and choosing to hurry off the phone to hang out with some friends.

That was the last time I talked to her.  I never told her how much I loved her and appreciated her. How much I enjoyed our conversations and the fact she did not treat me like a child.  It is still one of my biggest regrets.

I can live with making mistakes, looking foolish, being too involved or passionate, letting my bluntness overcome my sensibility, and choosing the wrong choice. That is life. We learn from our mistakes. They teach us valuable lessons and help us grow.

Everyone has regrets.

My regrets are the words that never made it off my lips, the "I'm sorry's, I forgive you's and the I love you's". Those are the treacherous things that make my nightmares vivid.

Kick out the people in your life that tear you down, who hold you back, who treat you cruelly. Don't let them be part of your regrets for not enjoying your life.

Embrace the people who love you, support you, who would bend over backwards for you. Tell them how much you appreciate them, show them, tell them you love them, I promise you when they leave your life it will crush a part of your soul. Let the other parts of your soul that is full with the knowledge that you loved them fully, entirely and told them every opportunity that you could, comfort your crushed soul. If not, that all consuming regret may just take over.

I know in my lifetime, I am still destined for some regrettable decisions. Because sometimes we only retain the knowledge from lessons we learned for a short while and life will gladly and cruelly reteach us.

My goal in life is not to avoid pain, heartbreak or regret. That is unavoidable. My goal is to live fully and love who I can when I can and to have as little regret as possible. My goal is to eliminate the unnecessary pain and heartbreak in my life, in other people's lives, by saying what my heart is begging me to, to do what my soul is urging me to, and to simply live with the courage and knowledge that this is our one shot to enjoy this life.

This has been a Sunday Confession with the prompt being regret, hosted by the lovely and talented Ash from More Than Cheese And Beer. Please stop by her blog and read about what she is currently regretting as well as the other brave bloggers who joined in today, I promise you won't regret it.

Comments

  1. That was so beautiful! From the beginning I felt every moment! I cried as you brought to life the moment your mother and aunt shared their secret memories. I imagined their heads together as tears ran down their face.

    You opened my eyes and my heart! ♡

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Gretchen for your sweet words!

      Delete
  2. Oh Jen yet again such a deep, beautiful, poignant, piece of writing. I felt your confusion, sadness, and acceptance. I would like to send you a hug and a prayer for your beautiful aunt. What a gift and blessing you were to each other. Death can never break that bond. ❤️

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jeanine, I appreciate your loving words.

      As much as it hurt and was confusing, I found solace in all my fond memories of her.

      Hugs back to you dear woman.

      Delete

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