Don’t get me wrong; I’m not one of those people who is glued to the glowing screen, constantly texting or hanging out on social media, unable to be still with my thoughts for a few moments. I quite literally would not know what to do. I enter my appointments, to-dos, and tasks in my phone’s apps. I even have a category for “dates to remember.”
It’s not just birthdays and anniversaries, but other dates that matter. For example, October 17, 1994 was the first time my (not yet) wife said she loved me. Every year, it shows up on my calendar as a reminder of what’s important to me. October 25, 2011 was the date I was almost killed in a car versus bike accident. I remind myself of that every 365 days to remind myself to be thankful. My youngest son moved to Portland October 8, 2009. I don’t know why I keep track of that, but it seems like an important date.
Not everything is in October. For example, May 6, 1984 is when my grandmother, Zlote Zelby passed on, approximately three months after my oldest son was born. She always wanted to be a great-grandmother and for those 117 final days in her life, she was; he being the only great-grandchild she ever met.
Zlote spent most of that time in the hospital, suffering from congestive heart failure; which eventually claimed her. I have one photograph of her in the hospital sitting in a wheelchair with an oxygen tube connected to her nose. Surrounding her stood my mother and my aunt, with me sitting next to her, holding my son on my lap. Four generations together for one brief moment, captured on film. Only my son and I are still around.
My grandmother was an incredibly strong woman, as a Russian immigrant, non-English speaking, widowed mother of three in the 1930s, she ran her own business. Yet as age took its toll, her later years were filled with regrets. The anniversary of her passing – as well as my own thoughts about aging – caused me to look at my own life, “Do I have any regrets?”
Sure, we all have regrets.
But, at least for me, I’m fortunate; thy are few. God-willing, I’ve still got time to deal with them.
On the website, “Collective Evolution,” I found an article, compiled by a palliative nurse who listed the Top Five Regrets at the end of life. Consider it a cautionary tale. The list follows, each starting with “I wish…” [Read more…]