Regret over Loss: The Door to Nowhere
Was it really only yesterday? Feels like it, since I can still hear his rhythmic laughter, and sense his sheepish gaze. We were teenagers in our final year of high school, supposedly looking more at future possibilities than at each other. Little did I know then what I discovered later—that he confided daily to a classmate how much he loved me.
Fifty years have passed. Tomorrow is the big event and he will be there. I will be there too, dealing with regret that we never fully bonded in the love we could have shared. Still, I prefer to lose the regret and free myself to celebrate.
So, for the last time, I push open the old classroom door and begin at the beginning on a short trip down memory lane, to replace regret with resolution, to close the door permanently and move forward.
Three Missed Opportunities
(1) In The Classroom
My lack of self-confidence was partly to blame. I interpreted his smiles to mean that he was sociable; not that he liked me in any special way. He was brilliant, handsome, from an upper class family and certainly beyond my social reach, I thought. I regret being so naïve and insecure. I wish I had encouraged him to pursue me.
(2) During Summer Vacation
That summer vacation after our high school graduation seemed like the perfect time for us to begin a love relationship. Temporarily free from studies and examinations, we spent time together, driving around for pleasure, visiting recreation spots a sheltered country-girl longed to enjoy. We played, we laughed, we dreamed and still he never mentioned that he loved me.
Being in his company, enjoying his attention made me ecstatic, and had he said those magic words, he would have set a new direction for my life; but he was too shy, he told me later. Those were the days when men took the initiative, and women waited. I regret not knowing then, how to apply the pressure.
(3) At Our First Reconnection
We both migrated from our small island and settled into different lives on different sides of the ocean, without any knowledge of how each other was faring. He became a scientist, serving governments and international companies. I became a wife, a mother, a schoolteacher. Then at our different stations, life hit us hard with crushing disappointments and we both headed home.
We made a joyful reconnection. It was then that he confessed his lifelong love. I felt blessed for receiving a second chance at love and it was my delight to enter into a love relationship with him. It was exciting and promising, but I left home again and the emails did not tell the whole story, neither did they satisfy our needs. How different might our lives had been, if we had taken the time to figure out the best solution to our problem.
Finally, I came home to stay. Again we reconnected. We enjoyed the best times we ever had together. We dined, we laughed, we loved. For a short while, it seemed like an opportunity for permanent joy. Then my rival entered the picture.
His illness made its presence felt. Sometimes it took complete control over him and determined his attitude toward me. It confused him and made him unable to love me the way he thought he would when he first loved me back in the classroom. It distracted him and pushed me away.
Our relationship became less smooth, but it remained meaningful and special. Looking back, I regret not trying harder to understand what he was up against—what we were up against. Finally, my rival took him away.
The regrets on my list are many, and they all bring me back to the classroom where it all began; but he is no longer here. He moved on and I was privileged to share a part of his journey. That should fill me with gratitude, not regret. What is clear to me right now is that reopening the door that time has closed is reopening the door to nowhere.
Ten Short Moving-On Quotes
"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." - Dr. Seuss
"The heart was made to be broken.” - Oscar Wilde
"Sadness flies away on the wings of time." - Jean de la Fontaine
“Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.” - Victoria Holt
“The past always looks better than it was because it isn’t here.” - Finley Peter Dunne
“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." - Lord Alfred Tennyson
"Come what come may, time and the hour run through the roughest day!" - William Shakespeare
"In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life: It goes on." - Robert Frost
"When the heart grieves over what is has lost, the spirit rejoices over what it has left." - Sufi Epigram
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” - Joseph Campbell
Tomorrow turned into today, and the big event for which I prepared was the celebration of his life.
The eulogy resurrected him temporarily, and we walked with him through his early years of promise, into his adult life of contributions and achievements in the areas of music and science. It became obvious that he completed his life’s mission.
"His classmates, friends and professional colleagues remember him as a person with high intellectual potential," one tribute said, "as someone who was kind and helpful to them along the way, as a friend whose genuine interest in their wellbeing extended also to their own family members."
"His brothers remember him as a son who was very devoted to his parents and who loved and supported all the members of his family."
"He was a good guy."
Other tributes proclaimed his loyalty to his family and friends, his generosity, his humor, his positive influence on those he mentored. His was a life worth remembering.
Lullaby: I Bid You Goodnight
The flowers at the graveside sparked with colors of love, hope and joy -- tokens of remembrances from many people with whom he had shared himself. His life had empowered others.
Underneath the flowers, lay the body of a man concerning whom the memories of the time we shared, greatly outweighs the regret of time we never had.
So, I move on contented and grateful--contented that he loved me and grateful for the opportunity I had to love him.
© 2015 Dora Isaac Weithers