Early Friday morning my Uncle Maurice passed away after an all too brief, month long ravaging from esophagus cancer. He leaves behind his wife of 24 years and two sons.
When we were young, Maurice was a huge part of our family; visits from him were daily as he lived half a block away from us. I remember fighting to sit beside him on my grandparents' brown and yellow paisley couch to open my grey Barbie corvette at Christmas; I remember that he always knew who I was at Halloween because my shoes were on the wrong feet until I was almost a teenager; I remember that he sounded exactly like Dustin Hoffman- and to this day I cannot watch any movie that he is in without giggling at random and inappropriate parts; I remember him stringing my doll Chrissy to the ceiling fan to tease me and then chocking himself laughing at my horror; I remember being his flower girl when he wed my Aunt Louise and how pretty my red dress made me feel. Somewhere along the way, the adults had a falling out- I don't know what it was over: I was too young to understand. All I know is that we stopped seeing them, and our families grew up, and apart.
Thankfully my Dad and Maurice, Mom and Louise had a month to forgive and forget, sit and talk, share and reminisce. I can only hope that the bitter taste of regret on time wasted being angry was lessened by the time they were able to spend together at the end, by the opportunity to make amends.
Uncle Maurice's sickness and death has been a sharp and prickly reminder that life is not infinite, life will not wait for you to be ready to go, life is a gift that we all should live to the fullest every day that we are blessed to open our eyes (even those days that our eyes are forced open far too early on a Saturday morning by hungry toddlers who want to watch Sponge Bob.) I am taking advantage of this reminder; I for one do not wish to die with a soul weighed down with regret and longing. I made a list of regrets that I would have if tomorrow never comes (please read that last part singing like Garth Brooks) and over the next little while I'm going to cross them off. Carpe diem, grab the bull by the horns, YOLO- choose your cliche'd metaphor- I want to live happy. Better yet, I want to die happy.
I wish we had traveled more. Nick and I planned to take a trip every year, but things always came up. A new roof, strike at work; Noëlle's extensive hospital stays, new floors at the cottage, a car dying: we always found more important and pressing things to spend our trip money on. I wish I had seen more of the world.
I should have gotten that tattoo. It was important to me.
I regret spending so much time pinning things on Pintrest, and wish I had made/done more things that I found on there.
I wish I had made it back out East. I'd love to show Nick and the kids the places and people who helped shape who I am.
I regret not taking the kids to visit their relatives more. They are so lucky to have 75% of their great-grandparents still alive and well; they have tons of great aunts and uncles who love them and see them rarely. Yeah, it's hard taking three little kids out to visit anyone, but I should practice more.
I wish like hell that I had found a way to organize my life. So, so much time wasted looking for a lost item, cleaning and picking up, despairing at my messy house, missing appointments, losing important paperwork. An organized life would mean more free time.
I wasted too much time dieting. I should have worked harder to loose the extra pounds, or just liked my body how it was. Simple.
I have a fun, surprisingly (shockingly really) stable family. Why don't we hang out more? Because we're busy? What a shitty excuse...
I regret not being more involved in the special needs community. They are a huge resource and support network for us, and have provided relief, knowledge, advice, experience, and compassion when we need it the most.
I lost touch with too many friends. Yes, I'm busy- but am I busy with important things? Are these things more important than some of the most important PEOPLE in my life?!? Since when did doing laundry become more vital than connecting with some of the few humans who think that I am awesome??
I am way too much of a homebody. I regret not taking the kids out into the world more. They deserve to have a little adventure every day.