When I read the Daily Prompt today, this was the question that we were challenged to write about. What’s your biggest regret? How would your life have been different if you’d made another decision?
I am not one to dwell on regrets for the most part. That is not to say that I don’t have any, but I am a believer in learning from any regrets you might have or leaving them at the door. We can waste too much time in our life thinking about what might have been, rather than what is to be.
Having said that, this prompt challenged me to write about something that is my biggest regret.
Mine is about someone I loved a great deal and a lost opportunity.
It is a regret I have learned from & since that experience, I have tried to change the way I conduct myself as I move forward in my life. This lost opportunity was simply to have a conversation with a very important person in my life; my stepdad who passed away almost 14 years ago.
He arrived from England to marry my mom, after a 3 year courtship and several trips back and forth across the ocean. Their story is an interesting love story of two people who, through a very strange set of circumstances, fell in love. He left his home & his job to come to Canada & instantly became a father to 3 teenage children.
Why, you might ask? Because he loved my mother & decided to take a total leap of faith.
There were, of course, adjustments to be made by all of us. I am certain there were times when he must have wondered what the hell he had gotten himself into, but I truly don’t think he ever looked back once when he made the decision to leave his life in England.
He & I developed a very special bond, a father/daughter relationship that both of us were desperately seeking. You see, he had lost a daughter through a bitter divorce & I struggled with my relationship with my father, due to alcoholism. This is not to say that I didn’t love my father & I certainly never doubted his love for me, but sadly alcoholism prevented him from being the father I longed for.
21 years after joining our family, cancer invaded my stepfather’s body. After a year of treatment, he made the decision that he simply wanted to live out what was left of his life & that no further treatment would be taken. Once making this decision, he expressed to my mom the wish to return one more time to their Florida home, for he loved nothing more than to throw his fishing line in the water & watch the world go by. Sadly, they had barely arrived when arrangements needed to be made for them to return home as his health was failing at rapid speed.
I can still see him arriving via air ambulance giving me a thumbs up, not to worry look. This was his typical response to most things in life, it’s all good, it will be okay.
What I couldn’t have predicted that night when I took my mom home from the hospital, was that this would be the last chance I would have to talk with him & to let him know what he had meant to my life.
A conversation I had put off until it was too late. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think of that lost opportunity.
I know in my heart, he knew how I felt about him, but it was important for me to say those words out loud. Words I regretfully waited too late to utter.
To tell him that I adored him. To tell him that he was a father to me in every sense that mattered. To tell him that I admired his bravery for taking a chance on our family. To tell him how much I loved him for loving my mother the way that he did. To tell him that if there ever came a day when his daughter sought him out, I would share with her the amazing man who was her biological father. To tell him that I loved him as unconditionally as he had loved me, warts & all.
This missed opportunity changed me. Since that time, I make every attempt to let the people in my life who matter to me, know how much they matter. I challenge you to do the same.
I miss you Bill each and every day. I will carry you in my heart forever.