Life is Short
I had lunch with friends last week and one of them told us that including me, she knew a couple of people that had recently lost spouses and it drove home to her the saying, "life is short". She was telling us about the decisions she had made not to put plans off anymore, she was going to go out there and grab life and choke it into submission. I'm really happy for her, and applaud her attitude, but, as she was talking, I was thinking, that's not what the saying means to me.
As someone who has recently lost my best friend, co-parent, and husband my regrets don't focus on what we didn't get to do, vacations we didn't take, or plans that weren't completed, I regret overlooked time. I regret that I didn't know that the last 6 months of his life were his last. I didn't absorb every minute with him and store it away. Mark knew I loved him, and I know he loved me, he knew how much he changed my life, and he knew how important he was to me and our family.
Because my loss is so fresh, the lessons I've learned from his death are fresh. I know you've heard all this before, probably at every funeral you've ever attended but pay attention anyway, maybe this time it'll stick. Life is short, and you only have one. Don't leave relationships fractured, and don't leave things unsaid, you can't come back and rectify anything. Forgive the people you need to forgive, then tell them so. Examine and then open old wounds so healing can begin. Ammend hurt feelings and offenses, or you'll leave them behind you as a legacy. Have those hard discussions, open your heart. Reconnect, pay attention, and stay in the moment. Be present in your own life.
This Thanksgiving, open your eyes and appreciate your family. Make sure everyone you love knows it, without any expectations. Appreciate the time you're given. Let the petty worries of everyday life fall away when you're together. It doesn't matter if someone is late, it doesn't matter if you don't have mom's stuffing, it doesn't matter who watches football, who shops, and who plays games, let it go. Pay attention, and enjoy your family.
Life IS short. My regrets concerning Mark aren't really about the past, we're good. Mark was my person. Mark is the one that would have helped me get through this and in a way he still did because we left nothing undone. I can't say the same for some of my other relationships, but Mark's death has really helped me to see that it's easier for those left behind when you leave nothing but the love behind you to stand in your place. If you love someone wouldn't that be a better legacy than regrets, guilt, confusion, and needless pain? Yeah, I think so too.
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