Regrets 101

“I’ve got a bad case of the 3:00 am guilts – you know, when you lie in bed awake and replay all those things you didn’t do right? Because, as we all know, nothing solves insomnia like a nice warm glass of regret, depression and self-loathing.”
― D.D. Barant, Dying Bites

I am thankful that computers don’t fill a room anymore. And those punch cards that the young people of today have never seen, who misses those? These are my thoughts today as I am crocheting at 5 a.m.. Gotta love my canine alarm clocks and their small bladders. My mind wanders when I crochet, and often my destination is regret, the land of could have, should have and wish I would have. When I discover that I made a crocheting mistake 10 rows back, I wish I would have been paying attention! I grumble, but the fix is easy. I unravel all my hard work, fix the stitch and begin crocheting again. No one will know. But me. Usually the whole world knows I screwed up or behaved badly, or maybe I just feel that way.

I am 64 years old, and my regrets could circle the globe. I can’t erase my past choices and behaviors, and playing “If only…” is a losing fantasy. So what do I do with my bag of rotting regrets? If I can right a wrong or make amends for my poor behavior, then I can change a regret into a learning experience. Damn those learning experiences! What about the “road not taken”? I had many forks in the road and I decided which way to go. That is my reality, and what could have been is not real. Now I try to live in reality as much as I can. Imagination is wasted if I try to create a new past; better to use my imagination in the present tense. I try not to create new regrets by staying in the now, and paying attention. I am getting short on time for do-overs.

A spider weaves a beautiful and ornate web,and without a thought,we destroy it. I am sure that the spider does not regret its choice of corner, or the design of the web. I had a life with Roger and we built a web of relationship, love, memories, dreams, anger, tears, laughter, and more love. Dementia destroyed our web, and unlike the spider, I had so many regrets that I was afraid of being buried alive. I should have loved him better. I should have realized that he was irreplaceable. I shouldn’t have yelled at him when he started to behave differently. I should have known that this was the last walk, the last bike ride, the last smile. Sit and listen to a group of caregivers and you will hear litanies of regrets and guilt. I sat and listened to my fellow caregivers, and shared my pain. I stayed long enough for the miracle of self-forgiveness.

2 thoughts on “Regrets 101”

  1. Trying not to create new regrets. That’s my goal. I so appreciate that you had a caregivers group to help you through some devastating times. And that you have arrived at self-forgiveness. The web you and Roger wove still exists, if not on the physical plane, at least at the level of heart, soul, and mind. Profound writing Thank you!


  2. You write so well, your comments included. Sometimes I don’t understand what I have written until you tell me what you understood. Thank you.


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