“I wish I had treated her better.”
I’ve heard almost everyone I know, who knew my niece Kami, say something along those lines since she passed. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is the most common feeling expressed ever by loved ones when anyone dies, because even if you basically treated a person well, we are human; miscommunications happen, we get impatient with each other, snap when we should speak with love, get too busy with the urgent and neglect the important, fail to understand the burdens someone else is carrying and criticize when we should just love–even in the best of circumstances. It is always going to seem, with loss, like you could have done better. And if there was indeed any problem between you or mistreatment on your part, it will probably seem bigger/worse to you when the person is not here anymore–when you can only say “I’m sorry” and “I love you” to the air and hope she hears.
The lesson is obvious and I hope we will all hold on to it the rest of our lives instead of letting the passage of time numb us to it. Since that day, I have spoken harshly to someone I love, and I regretted it and apologized much more quickly than I would have before.
I don’t like regrets. I have enough of them already to last me the rest of my life – don’t need any more. If I have wronged you, I’m sorry. If you have wronged me, I forgive you.