Life leaves room for a lot of wonderful memories and a lot of heart-breaking regrets. If I had to choose one moment of my life to return to, it would be a conversation I had with my mother in the waiting room of the hospital where my dad passed away.
Dad was dying from congestive heart failure because his kidneys were failing to keep ahead of the water that was surrounding his heart. The doctors’ “Hail Mary” play was to try Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD). This is the only type of peritoneal dialysis that is done without machines. You do this yourself, usually four or five times a day at home and/or at work.
Despite dad’s weakened condition, my sister, brother, and I were so excited that there might still be a chance to turn things around for dad, and dad, himself, had indicated through a note that he wished to give it a shot. But my mom was totally against it.
We argued with her in the waiting room, and at one point I asked her how she could say she loved him if she was willing to let him die. At that point she just shut down and we never talked about it again. Before the doctors could try the CAPD, my dad lapsed into a coma with his earphones on listening to his band. He never woke up.
My mom passed away 18 months later. She couldn’t function without my dad. In the end I think she just died of a broken heart. I found her one morning. She’d passed away in her sleep for which I was very grateful.
But during a subsequent counseling visit with a grief counselor we revisited that conversation in the waiting room and I had the biggest epiphany of my life. It wasn’t that my mom didn’t love my dad. It was that she DID. And that’s why she was willing to let him go and be at peace. It really made me question what love really is.
So if I could return to one moment in my life armed with the understanding I have of love now, it would be to that day in the waiting room where I’d have to tell mom I understood. It has pained me ever since that I never got the chance to tell her she exemplified for my siblings and for me what it means to really love someone and have their best interest at heart. I would give anything to be able to tell her she was my hero in that moment…
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DAILY PROMPT: If I Could Turn Back Time
If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?