"What Am I Supposed To Do About It Now? Past Regrets And Long Laments They Find Me Somehow, What Am I Supposed To Do About It Now? What Have I To Do But Fall Down?" --Jennifer Knapp
Regret is a pretty heavy burden to walk around this life with, and yet it is human for us all to have felt regret at some time in our lives.
With each week that has passed in this blog off I have found myself wanting to dig deeper than the week before and have something worthwhile for you all to read. Sitting here thinking of this word is hard for me. Mostly because when I do I think of my mum and all the time I lost with her.
When my mum first had breast cancer I was only 12 years old, maybe a little younger. Being so young, I didn't really understand a lot of what was happening. I just assumed the doctors would make her better and she would be here forever. She did get better and for 6 or so more years she was here. But when I was 18 her cancer returned and this time it was terminal. I was working at camp that summer when she was diagnosed. I could have made the decision to leave camp and go home and be with her. But I didn't, mostly because she encouraged me not to; she wanted me to enjoy my summer and be with my friends. And so I did. Sometimes when I look back on that decision, I regret it. I regret not spending those 2 months with her instead of 2 hours away at camp. When the summer was over I spent a lot of time with her. September and October of that year were times in my life I will never forget because I think that even though none of us said it out loud, we all knew those were our final months together as a family. When she was finally too sick to be at home anymore, we moved her to the Palliative Care Unit at the Grey Nun's Hospital in Edmonton. Looking back I know I should have spent so much more time in that hospital than I did. It wasn't because I didn't want to be with her, it was because it was too hard for me. Call it selfish--in some ways it was. But I never liked hospitals, even before she got sick. The smell, the white walls and floors. I was scared of being there because at the time it felt like I was admitting defeat, like I was willing to sit back and accept what was happening and I wasn't. And so I found excuses not to go, I had to work, I had school stuff to do, I have a birthday party to go to. Don't get me wrong, I spent time there and I cherish every moment I did but sometimes I feel like it wasn't enough and I regret that. Before she got sick I regret not spending more time with her shopping, having coffee and going for lunch. There are days now when I ache for that connection and I regret not enjoying it more when I had it.
Why say we don't have regrets in our life when we do? Is it that we are afraid that by admitting we have regrets we are saying we are weak? The defining moment of those regrets however is how we choose to deal with them, accept them and move on. There will always be a part of me that regrets not spending more time with my mum when she was still alive. But it is what it is and none of that matters anymore. She new I loved her and I know she loved me. She knew me better than anyone so I am sure she knew why being there with her at the hospital was so hard for me. She knew my heart was in the right place and she knew I did the best I could.
I have regrets in this life, that's no secret. The way I handled my mums sickness is not the only one. But what I also have is the wisdom from those experiences and how I handled them to help me through the next bump in the road. This is a post for the Blog Off for Breast Cancer. Feel free to click on any of the links on the right to check out the other blogs involved. Also, if you'd like to make a donation to Courtney, please click on the banner below.