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Rangie's avatar

Do you have regrets in your life, that you can't let go of?

Asked by Rangie (3656points) April 3rd, 2010

Are you carrying around baggage , that stems from something you may have done or said in your past that you regret? How should you go about letting go of it?

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46 Answers

partyparty's avatar

I regret not being able to say goodbye to my father who was killed in a road traffic accident. I miss him to this day.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@partyparty That sucks, I wish there was some way I could help. I got to say goodnight to my father, but that loss stays with you forever.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

No. If you keep your regrets, they will weigh you down and ultimately destroy you. You can’t change the past, what’s done is done. They may be trite phrases but true ones. All you can do is find the lesson from your regret, learn it and move on. Don’t obsess about it.

Vunessuh's avatar

No.
There are incidences that happened that are hard to forget and I find myself thinking about often, but I don’t regret anything.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’ve hurt a few of the women that were in my life in my younger days. Mainly through my own stupidity and desires. I carry that around in the back of my mind and use it to try to be hopefully a better person now.

J0E's avatar

I have regrets, for sure, but I don’t think I dwell on them to the extent that I would call it “baggage”. I try to learn from them more than dwell on them.

opalea's avatar

Oh many. Most of them involving me under the influence of alcohol. :|

Berserker's avatar

I’ve got some few regrets which still haunt me from time to time, but what the hell am I gonna do about it now? I’ve made my peace for the most part, at least up to now, but forgetting it entirely probably ain’t any more healthy than to be eaten up by them.

Rangie's avatar

@partyparty I know what you mean. I has a similar issue with my mother’s death. She had pneumonia, and had been hospitalized to no avail. She fell in a comatose state, and the doctors said there was nothing else they could do. I was the one with the durable power of attorney, since I was caring for her in my home. Not one of my 3 sisters would help. Nevertheless, the doctor told me that she was going to die, it was a matter of how. He said we can let her struggle to breathe or let her die with dignity. He said he cold give her an injection of morphine, she would relax and die with dignity. I was not in my right mind as my mother was my mentor, my idea of a perfect person. I knew I didn’t want her to suffer, so I said okay, give her the injection. He did and she was gone within 10 minutes. The guilt came over me like a hammer. I could not handle it, every time I past her room. I made somewhat of a shrine of her room, and would go in and cry my eyes out. I felt like I killed her. After months, things did not get better, so my doctor sent me to a psychologist. He told me if I had things I wanted to tell her, perhaps I could write her a letter. Then either keep the letter or burn it, knowing you told her everything. I went home and start to write the letter. I had trouble starting, but once I did, I thought I would never stop. It turned out that I really wanted to thank her for everything she taught me, and for being such a loving person in my life, and many more things. When I finished, I read the letter over once. I was satisfied so I burned the letter. You have no idea the weight that was lifted.

Rangie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Yes that loss stays with you forever. However, I was able to turn it around. All I have to do is look in the mirror, or at my hands, or even my skin and I see my mother. My memory of her is so vivid, I can even conjure up her scent. I find that I don’t miss her anymore, because I can bring many memories before me, as if she was right there. I find myself smiling at her and she is so close.

JLeslie's avatar

@Rangie That was an amazing story to share. I’m glad you found some peace. What an amazingly difficult decision. I believe you did the right thing.

Rangie's avatar

@JLeslie Thank you for your reassurance. That means a lot to me. I wish my sisters felt the same way. But that is their issue to deal with, not mine. Basically, I believe their ill feelings toward me is their own guilt for not helping to take care of her. She required care 24/7, including bed bathing, diaper changing, you name it, I did it. She was so cute in her acceptance of her situation, she would say “honey, your baby is wet”. Honestly, she was the sweetest little mommy any could have. I have special memories of her that my sister will never have, I think that is why they will not discuss mom with me. GUILT.

JLeslie's avatar

@Rangie All I can say is I would be so grateful my mother did not suffer for a long time. What country are you in?

Rangie's avatar

@JLeslie I am in the USA. When I went into her room and saw her trying to get air, I couldn’t handle it. I had to leave her room. I recalled how she and I use to play a little game at home. I would put her to bed, cover her face with the sheet, and say, “hum, I wonder where my mother went, I will look over here, no she isn’t there, maybe over here, no she isn’t there. Oh, well she must be out running around.” I would look over at her and the sheet would be jiggling up and down with her quiet little laughter. Then she would push the sheet down and say, “here I am, I’m right here”. We would play that every night as if it was the first time we played it. Like I said, I have great memories.

JLeslie's avatar

@Rangie A comfort to know physicians in the US offer such an option with all of the crazies in the country who think suffering is a good thing. Again thanks for sharing.

Rangie's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, I was very surprised when he said that. But when the only choice is suffer, then I think he did the right thing. I would never say his name to anyone.
A lot more of this goes on than most people have any idea. My son in laws father had colon cancer, which spread to his brain. He and his sister took around the clock care of him in his own home. One of the nurses that came told him that when the suffer reaches a point where you think it is time to stop it, you can give him X amount of morphine and that will bring him peace. Then of course you will have to say you dropped the vile and it broke. Because you have to be able to account for all of it. That is what he did, and neither he nor his sister had any regrets. They loved him enough to put themselves in that position.

Just_Justine's avatar

I have regrets yes, but the regrets are road signs that hopefully are pointing me to doing things differently in future.

anartist's avatar

I say this to myself when I do:
The Moving Finger writes and having writ,
moves on nor all your Piety nor Wit
shall lure it back to cancel half a line.
Nor all your tears wash out a word of it
Omar Khayyam

DrBill's avatar

Killing J.A. Bove (Bo-vay)

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@Rangie After your beautiful answer there is no point in rambling on about regrets. You did the right thing and your mother thanks you for your act of extreme love and mercy. You could not have done anything better than what you did. You showed love, grace and dignity! What a soul you are!

Exhausted's avatar

Nope. I don’t hold onto my mistakes or bad things that have happened to me in the past. It’s over and I can’t undo it. I don’t want to live my life dwelling on the past or wishing for something in the future, that would cause me to lose valuable time I could be using to enjoy what I have today.

zophu's avatar

Many regrets should not be let go of. It’s how we remember what has been lost, so that we can help others avoid making similar mistakes.

Coloma's avatar

No regrets here.

Hardships, yes, pain, yes. Regrets no.

I’m very much into living in the present moment.

I have never seriously harmed another in any capacity and for that I am grateful.

The rest is dust in the wind.

anartist's avatar

@Rangie That was so fine how you handled the grief and pain and guilt. How you saw her later as part of you, that’s how I felt when I lost my mom. I knew she wanted to go. I knew it was her time [she had been wearing her DNR DNI bracelet for several years] but I wished she would stay. When she left, I thought it wouyld be unbearable but she was with me, it felt like she was IN me. I still wish I could call her up and ask her something I know only she would know, and I still cry sometimes, like now, but it feels right.

escapedone7's avatar

My biggest regret is all the years of my life I spent in complete unhappiness rather than end things with people making me miserable or put boundaries and a stop to dysfunction and soul sucking relationships. I feel like I wasted my life trying to make everyone happy but myself. I wish I sought therapy sooner. I wish I never gave certain people so much power over me.

anartist's avatar

@escapedone7 congratulations on what you have finally done.

Rangie's avatar

@ZEPHYRA Thank you for your very kind remarks. I think that was my only real regret in life, thanks to the doctor, it didn’t last very long. I now have a very loving healthy relationship with my mom. There are times when I find myself chuckling over some cute memory of something she did. I know there is nothing I can’t handle. I have never been an idealist anyway. Reality is my game and always will be. Life is so much easier to live with reality, honesty, true to your morals and ethics. That way you don’t have to worry about hypocrisy, or getting lost in an idealistic life style.

Rangie's avatar

@escapedone7 Thank goodness you sought therapy and found out that you have the power over what goes on in your life choices. Now you have to put all of those regrets in your little red wagon and take it to the trash. Your life isn’t wasted, it is just a little later getting started. So please don’t waste time on yesterday, you can’t make choices for what has already happened. But, you can make choices about issues today and tomorrow. Congratulations on your new power.

Rangie's avatar

@anartist I spend time every night thinking about my mom. I don’t cry anymore. I smile a lot when I think of her. I can honestly say I don’t miss her anymore. All I have to do is visualize her and then I can conjure up the smell of her ( you know how everybody has a certain scent) and she is with me.
My father is also a sad story, but I manage to get past that as well. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, and my daughter was getting married. She was having a very large church wedding. My sister came to town and was staying at my parents house, so she could attend the wedding. The morning of the wedding my sister could not wake up my father. She called 911 and they took him to the hospital. I was busy with my daughter and had no idea what was happening. My sister brought my mother to the church and then left. She said dad back was worse and they took him to the hospital, so he won’t be able to attend the wedding. Well into the evening at the reception, one of my sisters came up to me and told me that Dad was in intensive care with pneumonia, and that we needed to go to the hospital right now. We did not tell my daughter, as she was her grandpa’s favorite granddaughter. Off we went to the hospital, a bit worse for the wear. Too much to drink at the reception. We arrived at the ICU and my older sister was coming out. She had a history of over exaggerating, so when she said I had better get in there before it is too late. I remember telling the nurse that was standing there “She always over exaggerates” I didn’t think it was that serious, because they got him to the hospital right away. And people don’t die of pneumonia these days with all the medications. I went in with my mother to see him, he was comatose and hooked up to just about everything they could find to hook him to. In my intoxicated state, I told mom he will be okay, they will take good care of him. But, he died on my daughters wedding day. I went into a panic state of mind. I remember asking the nurse if he is really gone and if he was, is he in heaven now? I didn’t know what I was doing or saying. My father didn’t take care of himself very well. He smoked all day and all night. He drank a little too much, and ate all the wrong food. I remember asking him one time if he wanted to live long enough to see his grandchildren. He seemed indifferent about that and said I don’t know, it doesn’t matter. My father was the best father a child could have, because he was a child too, only older. He love to play with all of us, and we loved playing with him. In reality my mother had 4 daughters and 1 big son. So somehow my regret was easier to work past. But, not all is bad, because 22 years later, my daughter only brother (my son) had his one and only baby boy on the very same date my dad died. So now my daughter has my fathers obituary and the birth announcement in her wedding photo book. Somehow things work out the way they are suppose to in the end.

Freedom_Issues's avatar

I said a few mean things to other girls growing up, and I haven’t forgotten them.

Rangie's avatar

@Freedom_Issues We have all said mean things to people at one time or another. Chances are the girls you said mean things to, said mean things to other people. I think you are too hard on yourself. Did anything happen to any of the girls as a result of what you said to them? If not, you need to get your little red wagon. Write the things on paper. Then burn them up and put the ashes in your little red wagon and take it to the trash. Be done with it.

anartist's avatar

@Rangie it seems like the circle that will be unbroken . . . And it’s funny how things happen that way. My Dad was very very ill and I think he knew it but kept it to himself.

He and my mother went to stay with my brother’s family in Connecticut while he went to Yale Hospital to have some eye surgery. While they were examining him prior to surgery they discovered that he had advanced pancreatic cancer.

I was visiting a friend in a small town in the sticks and we were out watching the town’s Autumn festival parade when my brother called and said I should get there fast. There was no way I could. A few hours later he called to say that dad had had a heart attack and died. I went out behind a Tastee Freez and sat on a milk carton and cried.

My brothers and sisters and I always felt that he knew this was coming and he wanted to make sure my mother was safely with my brother’s family when it happened.

And now they are both gone and we are now becoming the old ones watching the young ones start their adult lives. It just is what is and as long as we love each other it’s ok.

partyparty's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Thanks, that is so very kind of you. If I had just had one minute to say goodbye to him…

partyparty's avatar

@Rangie You should not have had to carry this burden around with you. You did your best for your mum, and knew the inevitable was going to happen anyway. Your mum didn’t suffer so you should be proud of putting her first.
Writing the letter seems like a good idea.

JLeslie's avatar

@Rangie I have heard that people who work for hospice let the family or patients know how much morphine is needed to end things. But, I had not heard of a doctor doing it for them like that.

Exhausted's avatar

@Rangie, you wrote your story in such a lovely manner. You appear to have a loving soul and would be an asset to anyone you shared your time with.

Rangie's avatar

@partyparty It seems like there is always something we would have liked to say. But we can’t follow them around all day, just in case. The best we can do is tell them we love them very often. My son calles me everyday, we never end a call without saying I love you. Same with my daughter, but we don’t get a chance to talk everyday. She is so busy with her family and her work.
Writing the letter was the best thing I could have done. You should try it. If you feel that doesn’t work for you, then you can lay in the dark stillness of you bedroom at night, visualize him and talk to him. Try the letter, you don’t have to finish it right away. Write some then go about your business, come back and write more. You will be surprised about how much you can write. Getting started is the hardest part. Like, where do you start. Tell him everything you ever wanted to. Even if it is something that made you angry at the time. Let me know how it works out for you.

Rangie's avatar

@Exhausted , Thank you so much. You are very kind. It means so much to me.

Rangie's avatar

@JLeslie , I haven’t either heard of anyone giving too much morephine. And when the doctor said that, he shocked me at first, but then he kept talking and explained why he felt that way. I didn’t know this doctor, as he was on call for her regular doctor. I also didn’t know there were different kinds of pneumonia. The doctor didn’t give the injection thought. The nurse did it under the doctors orders. My sisters said peace and almost a smile came across her face when the injection took a hold.

Rangie's avatar

@zophu, In my 67 years, I have found you can’t tell young people anything. They think we are all old fashion. They also always say things like, things have changed since you were young. Write them down and keep them somewhere so you can show someone that needs showing. Then forget them and get some new memories (good ones)

Rangie's avatar

@opalea, After reading your post, I would say perhaps you should put bottle away. Then you will have less regrets.

partyparty's avatar

@Rangie Thanks, that is so very helpful. I will let you know

anartist's avatar

I have regrets I can’t get over. I no longer try to. How important they would seem to others really doesn’t matter. I carry on along the life course that was modified by those actions or inactions because people do, but they remain as scars and grieving returns at times. I live with it and assume that time will bring either new regrets that eclipse the old or new joys that lessen the effect of past missteps.

Rangie's avatar

@anartist I don’t know what those actions or inactions were, but you alone are allowing them to modify your life style. Things don’t just happen and change bring new regrets or joys. You need to make them happen. Just keep moving forward.
I have a niece that is now 49 and single. She has been saying “one day the right man will show up” No he won’t. If you don’t get yourself out there meeting people and enjoying life, it will just stay the same. If you don’t take charge of your life, nobody will do it for you. This is your life to live the way you want. Nobody is getting hurt but yourself. So you can choose to be happy or miserable. It much more fun to be happy. Go for it.

escapedone7's avatar

`I know exactly what @anartist is saying. I made decisions that altered the course of the rest of my life, like it or not.

Rangie's avatar

@escapedone7 I think we all have done that at one time or another. But, it is how we handle the good or bad decisions that make the difference. If it was a bad decision, perhaps you can make a good decision that will alter your life in another direction. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about decision made in the past. They are done. But, you have the power to make better decisions in the future to alter the rest of your live.

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