One theme that kept ringing through as we (my parents, siblings, cousins, extended family) walked through this dark time was that we had no regrets. What a blessing that is. To come to the end of a life and not have regrets of things that weren't said, weren't done, love not shared. Instead, we had sadness but not regret. Here are a few thoughts from that experience.
1) Say the things you need to say. Don't wait for a tomorrow that might not come. On Thursday I mailed a packet of letters and drawing to my grandpa. We knew he wasn't likely to recover from his stroke, and it gave the kids and I a chance to honor him one more time while he was alive. It also made it easier for me to articulate my thoughts when it was time to call him and release him with words of love and honor. That call was so hard, but I have no regrets because I made it. I cried like a child as I said good-bye to the patriarch of our family.
|Here we are at the hospital, doing the hard things together.|
2) Do the hard things. The afternoon of my grandfather's funeral, my siblings, cousins, and I piled into our minivan with a couple of spouses and drove to another town to see my uncle in the hospital. At the time we were still hopeful he would recover, but on walking in his hospital room, it became clear it was a good-bye. Twelve hours later, he graduated to heaven, too. It was painful seeing him that way, but when he died the next morning we had sadness without regrets.
3) Make the time for family. I had two books due during this time period. One February 1 and the other February 15. I've been blessed with editors who told me to spend the time with family, but I still had to give myself permission. I turned in the first book a couple days early and I'll turn in the second in a couple days. But I will never regret taking a couple days to spend with my Grandma and help with legal details. And if I hadn't returned to Nebraska for my uncle's funeral after 24 hours at home, I wouldn't have heard the pastor share at the funeral the conversation he had with my uncle about salvation in Christ. That was precious and comforting. I also wouldn't have the shared memories from my uncle's friends, experiences I didn't know about before the eulogies. I wrote those days, but I focused on a precious woman who had lost her husband and son a week apart.
There is freedom and peace in living with no regrets. How do you live without regrets?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.