Becky Says...

April 22, 2001

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The Constants

One of my friends who is deep in the beginning stages of grieving a loss mentioned something today about regrets, and things she would have done differently. I understand her feelings; the loss for her was totally unexpected and the lost one much younger than my mother's years.

But one thing I am glad about is that I didn't have regrets when Mother died, since there wasn't much I could have done differently. I do not mean to sound smug here; it's just that I was fortunate enough to have learned from examples. I saw other friends and relatives mourn and heard them say what they wish they had done differently, and I took to heart the notion that I should try very hard to do the things with my mother that we both wanted to do.

There are things we would have done differently had her health been better the last six years of her life, of course, but none of those things count as regrets for me, since they were out of our control.

I was the constant the last half of my mother's life. And I take a great deal of comfort from that. We had our disagreements, but there was never a point where I thought she didn't love me, and I'm pretty sure she would have said the same thing.

When I was a child, one constant developed between us. There was always an exchange of, "I love you," between the two of us. Though we never said it in so many words, I'm sure this had its roots in my dad's death---that you should always make sure the people you love know you love them, just in case that's the last encounter. In those last six weeks or so, when I was doing the talking for us both, it wound up being me saying, "I love you, and I know you love me." And whenever I think too hard about that sentence, it makes me weep.

After I moved away from home, first for college then for work, we had other constants. There were frequent phone conversations. And every week, she would send me clippings from the local newspaper, of things she knew would matter to me. It would have been nice had we had computer access, since the phone bills over the years could have financed several small countries. But that isn't a regret. A regret would have been not making an effort to keep in touch. Heh. "Effort" is too strong a word. Keeping in touch for the two of us was similar to breathing and blinking.

It was a constant.

What are some of the constants in your life?

Text © copyright 2000-2001 Becky