No Regrets

When Kramer was sick we were driving home from radiation treatment in Lacrosse.  Out of the blue, Kramer said, “You know, people always say things about regrets and whether they have any.  I’ve been thinking about that and the only regret I have is that I started smoking.”

Growing Old with No Regrets - Human Unlimited
We talked about it for a long time…I asked if he regretted this or that?  I asked if he regretted how we handled a certain situation.  I dug a little deeper and said, “Well maybe you don’t “regret” it, but would you have handled it differently?”

He thought and said that in the situation, he thought he handled it the best he could at the time so no..he didn’t regret it or wish he would have done things differently.

That conversation stuck with me and has over the last year.  When Kramer was dying, I wanted to make sure I had no regrets.  I told him the things I wanted to say.  I did the things for him that I wanted to do.  I had no regrets with how our earthly relationship ended.  I’m so thankful that.  So many people don’t get that chance.  For me, even though I had to watch him die, having no regrets and him knowing I was there for him, was totally worth all the pain of it.

The other day I heard someone ask another person if they had regrets.  That lead me back to the conversation Kramer and I had.  I was so thankful that I had the warning that Kramer was going to pass away.  I was so thankful for those 4 1/2 days we had from the time we were told he was going to die, to the time he actually did.

That got me thinking about my current life.  Was I living a life of no regrets?  I can’t say I regretted anything but I did think I needed to change the way I was living…I won’t always get those 4 1/2 days with every person I know.  Every time I see someone, it might be the last time I see them.  They might die in a car accident…they may commit suicide…they may have a medical incident.  Any number of things can happen to someone that prevents me from seeing them again.  Their life is not guaranteed.  My life is not guaranteed.  Every time I see someone, that might be the last time I see them.  It might be the last time they see me.

So…I decided that I was going to changing the way I live.  I’m living a life with no regrets.  Here are some of the things I’m doing:

I compliment people more. I say what I think more freely but not the icky stuff…just the loving things.  I say things such as I’ve always loved that about you…and it’s referring to something like their laugh or their kindness.  I tell people I appreciate their friendship.  I thank people for being in my support system.  I put words to many of my actions…like saying “If I can, I’ll always help”.  I thank people for calling.  I thank people for stopping by and checking on me.  I TELL people all the things I can to let them know that they have meaning in my life. I DO all the things to let people know they have meaning in my life.

I’m better at letting my own kids see that I love them for them…completely unconditional.  I grew up in a pretty dry family when it came to loving words.  My parents loved me and I knew it, but there was no physical showing of love and no emotional showing of love.  I’m not mad or angry about that.  It just is.  With Covid, I’m trying hard to make the emotional side of love bigger.  I tell the kids I appreciate them and that I’m proud of them more than I ever have.  I tell the kids they are good at their job and that I’m impressed by them.

The 10 Biggest Regrets In Life & How To Avoid Them
I think the saying above is so true…but not the way most people would take it to mean.  Most people would read that and think, “the need to try for that promotion” or “that means I need to move to the city” or any number of things.  They don’t think about the emotional side of things.

They don’t see it as the part I see.  Are we opening ourselves up to love and be loved?  Are we taking the chance to tell people how much they mean to us?

I think we all guard our emotions a little too much.  We don’t want to get hurt.  We don’t want to feel awkward.

Since Kramer’s passing, I’ve become a much more open person.  I say kind things often…Admittedly it was a little awkward for me at first.  Now it’s much easier.  I feel like a much more sincere person.  I don’t lay in bed at night and think, “I should have told Kalissa I’m proud of her for gathering supplies and taking them to Cedar Rapids.”  I already told her…because I am proud of her and I want her to know it.  If she died in a car accident on the way home, I want her to know that I am proud of her.

So today’s blog post is just a little reminder….the people you love and the people you are close to might not always be here.  You will not always be here.  You might not get those 4 1/2 days that I had with Kramer.

Say the things you need to say now….live a life with no regret with the people in your life.  Open yourself up to love and be loved.  It’s a genuine way to live…and it’s a happier way to live.

25 thoughts on “No Regrets”

  1. I have been following your blog for several months. Not only are you and your daughters talented, but I have grown to love your family. I love your blog and your daughter’s blog. I pray for you and all. I love that you are so involved in quilt charities. Thank you for sharing your talents and your family with us.

  2. Thank you for this blog post. We do need to be reminded now and again to not take for granted the people in our lives or things that we can say and do.
    Love and prayers

  3. I had 7 weeks to talk to my husband before he died. We had many deep meaningful talks. He had regrets in his life but he had dealt with them a long time ago. I also learned that your life can be heaven and the next day, you think you are living in hell. He was not ill one day, until he forgot something important. He had an MRI to see if he had a stroke but it was brain cancer and we were told he would shortly die. In those 7 weeks, we talked. I never again took anything for granted. Your loving support of people is great. This blog today is a good one Jo, I hope it reaches people.

  4. Thank you for the wake up call this morning. It’s something we all know but push to the back of our minds because it’s not comfortable to think about someone else dying let alone ourselves. But there are other ways to lose someone beside death . A person may move away or just become so busy with life that we see less of them. Covid 19 has made seeing others difficult and sometimes even dangerous. Letting someone know may they are important and appreciated may just make their day!

  5. What a powerful message. I thank you for sharing your life with us. I appreciate the things that you share with us. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I feel like if we lived closer, we’d be friends.

  6. Amen. Today is a family day for me. I try to be that person who expresses love and appreciation. Today is a good opportunity to try harder. Blessings.

  7. What a wonderful post, it brings life into perspective. With all of us being locked down for so long, I’ve taken the opportunity to write a few notes to friends, rather than reach out by email. Simply act of kindness and expressing our appreciation to each other can go a long ways in making us better people. Thank you for spending the time and energy to share the blog and your family with me, for taking me on a simple walk with your children, or working in your garden with the grands, I do look forward to your postings.

  8. Thank you Jo. What goes along with your post today is one about forgiveness. I’ve had two situations recently where I needed to forgive another, even though I felt that I wasn’t the one at fault. When you harbor those thoughts it just makes me ugly. So I’ve forgiven and will move on. I do it for me, not to admit that I was wrong or right but for peace of mind.

  9. Thanks for this post, Jo – such a great message. I’m happy that you were able to have those 4 1/2 days, but wow…4 1/2 days is such a short time. Glad that you were able to take full advantage of the short time you had.

  10. What a blessing your blog is for many people, for many reasons such as your topic today. I went through a medical scare several years ago (doctors, myself & the surgeon all thought I had ovarian cancer). I had 3 tumors (2 different types & fast growing) but all benign. I went into surgery prepared that I would have stage 4 cancer, and that I wouldn’t have much time left. I woke in recovery to find out NO CANCER. It changed how I look at things, and will for the rest of my life. We moved from another state to here, to be near family. We pared down all our personal belongings probably by 60%, and live in a small home, and I am grateful for the daily blessings in my life. It has a profound effect when you go through something like that, or when you read a blog like yours!

  11. I try to live by my mantra “First do kindness”. Like you I enjoy letting people know I appreciation them. I really love doing it with service people. Yesterday I phone in an menu order and when I got there I waited and waited then they came our to ask my name again. Waited some more then I got my order. The young man who delivered was very sorry but they had given my order to someone else. I told him it was okay now my order was nice and hot. So glad I didn’t complain. I went home with a good feeling and I made sure I let him know it was fine with me.

  12. Your message today cleared a lot of fog from my brain. Your words made me straighten up and think about my words and actions. Telling people with kind words what they mean to you takes just a few words and can have a profound effect on their lives. Just saying hello to someone you pass on the street may be the only kind words that person hears that day. Our good words work. Thank you again for putting this reminder to us in words that we can review and remember.

  13. Jo, This brought tears to my eyes. Your kids will always remember how you feel about them! Love is meant to be shared, spoken and felt. You are truely living in love. My friend, I appreciate your openness, friendship and silliness. I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate. So glad we reconnected and had such a great talk. Reminded me of our college talks trying to figure out life! I guess we still are. You are a blessing to me!

  14. Thanks for this reminder. It is something that I KNOW, but often don’t practice. Such an easy thing…telling others the good things about them and the love we feel, but we do get complacent , so it is nice to be reminded in such a thoughtful way.

  15. Judith Fairchild

    Jo, you did it again! The need to let loved one friends and neighbors know you appreciate and love them. I came from an emotionally dry damaged family. I’ve done my best as I got older to reach out to forgive and be forgiven and to truly love them and let them know I love them. The rewards are great and contentment runs through our conversations.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences. Hard as it is to watch a loved one die. It’s harder to not be there with them.

  16. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom with us. It is such good advice and I feel the challenge to follow it in my daily living. You are an inspiration to me. I’ve just recently subscribed to your blog so this is the first time I have heard your story. I’m so glad to have found you.

  17. My parents also were not very demonstrative. In fact, I wasn’t actually sure they loved me for a long time. I had siblings that got a lot more attention and I always wondered why I didn’t. I tried to be much different with my children, telling them I love them and doing things for them – sometimes maybe too much.

    I like what you said about not knowing when things are going to be the last. We look back and think, when did we have the last family dinner we hosted. Those times slip away and we don’t know it will be the last time. Treasure those moments, enjoy them, and tell people all the nice things you feel.

    Thank you, Jo, for all the time and effort you put into the blog, for sharing your life and your family with us. Sending love and prayers.

  18. Thank you so much for sharing this! I also grew up in a “dry” family, although I wasn’t always sure of the love. I have recently come to realize I am an “emotion avoider.” I have been thinking about how I change that – how I become more expressive in my love for others, and you have shown that “JUST DO IT” is the way to go! :-) I only started reading your blog after Kramer’s passing, and every time you post, you make me think. Thank you. I appreciate you and your blog!!

  19. First time reader.. your headline caught my attention and I’m very thankful it did. I appreciate the wonderful message and reminder

  20. dottie Williams

    Dear Jo,
    Thank you so much for sharing your pain and thoughts. I took care of my adult daughter for 9 months till she passed away and also feel like you that I have no regrets. I was her advocate in her health care and I told her how much I loved her every day. The only regret I have is that I didn’t have her here on this earth for longer, but it is what it is. Cancer is such and ugly thing. I look forward to seeing her again in heaven
    when I get there.
    Love, Dottie

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