What I wouldn’t give for one last conversation with you.
The last words I spoke to my dad before he died, was a message I left on his answering machine. Actually, it was two messages; one saying I was sorry I didn’t stay and have lunch with him after our last visit, apologizing for cutting it short and having to leave so early and the other was asking if I could come and see him and make it up to him the next day. He never heard those messages, but I did, when I was in his room cleaning up his things after he died.
Death is so damn final and unfortunately it is the constant throbbing reminder of the things you wish you could have said or done when you had the chance, and that haunts me often. It also reminds me to do better while I still can and I do, or at least I try to. I am trying to say the things now so as not to have regrets later. But I do have regrets, many of them and even though I try really hard not to beat myself up, they are always hovering around me never allowing me to forget.
I can’t help but look back on moments from long ago that I will never get back and I struggle with the fact that I didn’t appreciate them when I had the chance to, at least some of them. I am thankful for sounds and smells that trigger memories that allow me to travel back in time to moments in my life that helped mold me into the person I am now. Some memories leave me questioning things, because they were moments when had I made an entirely different decision, it could have changed where I am now… and I wonder… would I want to go back and find out? If I had the chance to have one more conversation, a “do-over”, is there a moment in time I would have behaved differently or said something else or made an entirely different decision? I think about that often, and I usually end up saying, “no” because I am okay with who I am and where I am in my life and there is no guarantee that things would have been “better”. Each time I start to go backwards in my head, I remind myself that nothing good will come from that.
I think about my sister Laura all the time. I think about all the things that have transpired in my life since she died and how much I want to tell her. I think about the ways my love and appreciation for her has increased as each year passes. What I wouldn’t give for one more conversation with her. I miss her. I miss the things we'll never have. I think my one real regret is not telling her how much I appreciated her, but the truth is, it took me time to realize that, and a lot of it was after she died… so even if given the chance to go back in time, to the person I was then, I still would not have said the things.
The other day I was lying on the floor with my granddaughter talking about different stuff and I looked at her face and I thought to myself that this day would one day be her memory of me and I wanted to make it better, I wanted to make sure we laughed, I wanted to make sure I asked her questions and let her know that I hear her and that her words mattered. I wanted to make that moment special for her, a memory of the day “me and Nana lay on the floor and laughed”. It made me realize that my gift to her will be the constant effort to make sure I make time with and for her, and that our moments together are special and unique.
I think about my younger granddaughter who is only just now realizing a love for me and I can’t help but imagine the way our relationship will grow, and I am excited about that.
I had a conversation with someone recently and when it ended, I felt a little less important than I had hoped I was and all I could think was that if this was our last conversation, that would also be our last memory. I don’t want the last words I say, or the last thing I do to be a bad last memory for someone. I can’t help but think if I made more effort to use kindness in my words, if I listened a little bit more intently, if I placed a higher value on time… maybe I would limit the chances for regret for myself as well as for others.
There are so many people I wish I could have one last conversation with, and this is true for those whom have passed as well as for those whom I have not spoken with in quite some time. And while I write these words, I also imagine conversations I have not had yet, ones I hope to have and situations where I might have limited my chance for this to happen and I realize just how much control we can have over that. The only thing we can be absolutely certain of is right this minute, this very moment we are alive and perfectly capable of making the very best last memories and I realize that what I want for myself, is to live a life that is so full of passion and play, with honest vibrant conversations and moments that matter and knowing that I left a taste with someone that will never go away. I want to live that life, I want to leave behind those memories… and when I am gone, leave behind people who will desperately wish for one last conversation with me… but super thankful for the ones we had.
Photo credit: This is a photo I took when I traveled to Peru with my son and daughter. A memory I will cherish forever, one I believe they will as well.