My coffee and Joyce Hifler. “No regrets is a hard rule to practice. If something we have done wrong can be helped, we should make the effort. From there the plan should never include anything to regret. The main idea of not regretting is to forget the things about which we can do nothing.___Crying over all that has gone can endure for a time. After that, a new cycle begins, and we have to close the old and aim for new.___Sometimes no regrets means giving up self-pity and prejudice against optimism, but most of all it means getting on with living.”
I thought about “what does having regrets mean”, all my life I have heard people make comments about not having or having regrets. So I probed my feelings to learn if I had any when it came to Tom’s death. When you think of having regrets the next thought is about “do these regrets make you feel guilty about something?” That means feeling uncomfortable___right?
Regret seems to crop up when someone dies. I drew mostly blanks when I examined our relationship. Yet there must be something! I thought. Well, the one obvious regret is that Tom is no longer here. With his retirement from the Maine Turnpike, we had planned to begin a new adventure. Both of us would be in the studio doing our artwork. We had thoughts about traveling. Sadly this did not happen. This I can say is a regret for me. I regret something else and that is the ugliness of my first marriage coming into ours simply because it got talked about too much I feel. Something triggered a thought and there we were. Kids were involved that explains a lot. I just would have loved more of us and less of that! Thomas would tell me “Don’t let (someone/anyone) live rent-free in your head!” I did my best, and so did he.
Thomas and I had a very good relationship, we talked about anything and everything! So, from time to time I probe my mind for regrets I am not finding. Deciding to leave well enough alone. Instead, I turned to how I could change my world, and myself so I would not form regrets from an unlived life. Life without Thomas what would that be like? You do not think about the what if’s until after____. And there you are!
“The will to change things for the better must be very strong. Half-hearted desires have never supplied the necessary strength to make anything work. The intention must be strong, the action determined, or else the result will be one of disappointment.___When the first wave of zeal passes, our courage wavers. It is then that we have to fortify our will to succeed. We do so by a firm and quiet directions to our thoughts that we are going to accomplish what we have set out to do. Living by this rule will crumble the small obstacles and enable us to strike over the big ones.__The will to live and to live well is our decision. Coupled with faith, the will to go forward makes all things possible.”
I believe this to be true, and I work towards such goals as they are my own. I waver and have to bring myself back around into being consistent. It gets better as time goes on. I am grateful for Hifler’s framing of these thoughts. I am grateful for this reminder, the assurance I am on target with something that makes sense.
I have always believed in following my dreams. I have had proof that changing one”s path even though it meant a great deal of emotional pain at the time, for several years; was, in the end, necessary and became worthwhile because it allowed me to be a stronger woman, more knowledgeable, a far better life___. I grew into who I now am, a better person for those I love. It was not the path I had planned which I took. One door opens, another closes. A new path is before us. It is important to have a good perspective of the self.
I believe that “all of life travels on a cycle. We have the tendency to think “a beginning and end” when it is “an end and a beginning”. When one life closes one cycle it begins another. If we can take our attention away from everything that has passed, we can more easily see past the curve in the road ahead. Life is never lived back there, life is here! And as it is lived it moves on around the cycle requiring us to keep going__keep face forward__so as not to miss a single step. Only then do we have an understanding of the way of living. Only then, do we start a new and happier cycle?
I took a year, from Tom’s death to the day he died September 28th, 2020 to September 28th, 2021. During this time I spent time with how I felt about the loss of Thomas because we were so intertwined. Tom and I were so invested in learning about each other, and embracing who each other were. Our relationship felt rare. It has taken time to untangle if you will, to be just me separate from Thomas. It’s not that I am not an independent person. It was the fact we had this bond that made us two people as one unit. Our relationship felt linked. We knew each other so well. Our intimacy ran deep. I did not know what unplugging from what we had would mean for me. I did know I could not move forward and hold onto what we had as a couple. I do think that our relationship left me with great comfort, even without his physical presence. I think mourning Thomas has been different than what others experience. I think we do not mourn the same. Things make me sad, and I cry. I expected a Tsunami because of how we loved one another. That has not happened yet.
My approach was to allow myself to feel. I am not sure how successful this has been as I remain in the process. I do know writing helps because I have put how I feel into words, and I cry, and I feel sad, and I let this sadness be in my heart where I can care for it tenderly, as said by Michael A Singer. I have written poems. I read to find words I can not seem to put together at times. I started to blog that I may give thought to others who also mourn or have been through this mourning process.
It has always been very important to me to know where I am at. That I have balance with wiggle room. Meaning we work towards having balance, but we do not maintain it. It is like the Ying and Yang to be truly balanced is to know you won’t be truly balanced because that is how life is. But to stand on the board and shift your weight will keep you centered and striving to stand upright, so you do not fall and give up on trying.
Thank goodness we wear many hats in life so that when the wind blows some off, we have others to put on. Thomas and I talked over the years about the importance of being all we can be, that we evolve. We saw ourselves as being individuals. There is a bringing together of what your interests are. Life will evolve, and you will change, and this makes you interesting to one another. I have come away feeling I had an interesting life with Thomas, but there is so much more to learn about. We had planned to move into the world more to explore. Now it’s just me at this point. And there is no rush, but I do know I want to live in new ways and meet new people. I want to follow through with plans and pivot with other plans.
I am feeling grateful for having known Thomas, that I could be there for him, and that he was there for me. This felt so easy to do. The more he loved me and showed me love the more I loved him and want to show him how much I loved him.
A regret. I wish he had, had better health. It was hard to see him be ill in the way he was. When your lungs turn to leather, and you can’t take in enough oxygen, eventually your body dies. You are given 3 to 5 years when you come to the critical part of things. Things could not become better with the combination of a heart that was not as strong anymore. His heart giving out as it did however gave him a better death. His body simply stopped.
I hope if you have lost someone dear to you these thoughts help.