I saw a movie tonight. The Fault in Our Stars. Tore me to shreds. I ended up in the bathroom stall sobbing into toilet paper, thinking of my Opa and me speaking at his memorial service three days after he passed on.
I read from a piece of paper what I felt I needed to say about him. About how he loved me, tangibly, more than I had felt loved by any other person I knew. What I wouldn’t give to have been able to tell him that…
Regret is the worst feeling in this world to me. I used to think disappointment was. It is a close second, but regret tops the charts. You see, before my Opa passed, he was in the hospital recovering from a surgery to remove his bladder (he had bladder cancer) that was supposed to give him more time with us. And I couldn’t bring myself to go see him in the hospital. I had my reasons. Basically, I was a coward. I will regret that to my dying day. Because the last time I saw him, he was already unconscious, and I can’t remember the last conversation we had face to face or what I last said to him or he to me.
I know that when he was laying in his bed, a day before he passed, I lay down next to him and held his hand and he squeezed my fingers, ever so lightly. I told him I loved him and that I was going to miss him. But I wish I would have said more. I can only hope that he knew how I felt. How his love for me and the way he expressed it and how he told me I was beautiful every time he saw me…. Those things still stick with me. I can’t help feel this heavy weight of regret though. I wish, I wish, I wish… And I can never get those moments back.
The other thing that this movie made me think of was my Emma. How I so nearly lost her, after just losing my Opa. But I feel like I somewhat redeemed myself in that no matter how hard it was for me, I went to that hospital every day to see her… Even knowing she might die. I remember one night being called by her nurse at my apartment, and how she told me that they had had to “bag” her which means they’d basically had to do CPR on her, and I could sense the fear and panic in her voice and it scared me to death. I kept asking if I needed to come down and she said no, she was fine now and there was such relief in her voice… it was palpable. She assured me she would call again if I was needed. And I trusted that she would. But there was still that constant fear and worry that they would call me again. And that it would be the end. I don’t know how I made it through those days… those nights. But I like to think that my Opa was watching from above and that he knew the impact he has had on me. That I strive to love her like he loved me.. and I always will. Til my dying day.
Another thing that struck me in the movie was that she was worried about her parents and what they would do once she was gone. She was afraid they’d just cease living or “off themselves” as she put it, and she remembered her mom saying something when she was first diagnosed with the cancer and was in the ICU, her mom said something about she wouldn’t be a mother anymore…after she was gone. And she told her, no, I was wrong. Even after your gone, I will always be your mother. When she said that, I almost couldn’t hold back the tears… I felt that exact way. Even if Emma had died, I would always have considered myself her mother. And I honestly don’t know how I would have gone on, but I know I would have. Somehow, someway. I would never have been the same, that’s for sure. But there is life after death. Life goes on, but death changes you. It changes everything.. as it should. It gives you a new perspective on life. How short it really is. And how you only have one. So you should live it well. And to the full. While you still can..
This movie was powerful and it made me think.. which is something I do a lot of anyway. But this made me think a little deeper than I really wanted to… and for that I’m actually grateful. I needed it. I need to reflect on things that I shove down deep inside more often. Open myself up and get some fresh air… a fresh perspective. It’s good for me. I bottle up too much of what I really feel. Instead, I tend to put on a front, more often than not of anger or I brush things off too easily, act like they don’t matter or don’t affect me. I try to pretend I’m strong. But I’m really not. None of us is. We’re human. And we need each other. And that’s all there is to it.