This week my daughter was teasing me about how I used to make the kids do jobs around the house when they were young, and how sometimes I checked their workmanship to make sure they had done a good job of their task.

I’m sure I felt at the time that it was important to teach the kids responsibility and that they learn to do a good job at whatever was tasked to them. And I’m sure they profited from being taught to do a good job, in the long run. Jason was a very focused and great worker. Eric and Jenna are outstanding workers.

But, looking back, I wish I had taken more moments to play with the kids instead of seeing so much through the eyes of responsibility and instruct-able moments. I would give anything to go back and just hug my kids more, read more stories, play more games. I want my kids to remember how much I loved them, and not how I was so concerned that the dust bunnies didn’t multiply.

It’s a balance, this being a parent. Those years with young kids are so full of such busy times. We are trying to instill values and life lessons for the adult they will one day be. We want them to learn early in life how to manage time and to do a job in which they can take pride. We want to teach them to be kind and caring. So many things to teach. And the next thing we know, they are gone. In my case, gone forever. Jason is gone forever.

In recently looking at photographs, I know we did a lot of fun things together. I hope Eric and Jenna – and Jason, before he died – remember more those fun things than the responsibility things. But there are no more days of playing Yahtzee or chess with Jason, no more days of going to the beach with him, no more playing volleyball in the back yard with him. I will never have a chance to do those things that Jason loved with him again…or with his kids, either, since he will never have any kids.

The day before the accident, I remember I was trying to orchestrate everyone helping get the house clean and groceries bought for the week so that we could relax and enjoy our Sunday together. It seemed so important at the time. But then Jason died in the early hours of Sunday morning. Instead of fun family time together, our nightmare had just begun. If I had known what I know now, the cleaning could have waited, not only that day, but many other days. I had a clean house for people who came by for consolation visits, and Jason had helped clean the house.

Take time to enjoy the time you have with the ones you love. Let them remember your love, kindness, empathy. Yes, teach your kids the important things, but make sure they remember the fun times and not only the chores.

© 2016 Rebecca R. Carney


6 thoughts on “Regrets

  1. Becky, I feel your sadness. You were raising responsible kids and that is also such an important job as a parent. Your could not have know how life would be shattered with Jason’s death. Going on and even finding joy was my challenge. I had three other children I raised after my son’s death and I was unable to be very upbeat while in deep grief. I have few happy memories with my other children for many years following my son’s death.
    Feeling such regret and sadness seems like nothing related to anything you did. I’m sure Jason would agree that you were the best mom. When our child dies, we’ve been denied all future memories. It’s a tragedy.

  2. This is so true. But from your writing, I have the feeling that Jason and your other children always sensed that their chores proved that they were needed, loved, and valued in your loving family.

  3. Wow . . .this is what I think of very often. I too wish I could go back and redo those wonderful busy years. My kids – Sandy, Sharon, Krissy and Eddie had their weekly/daily chores. I harped on them completing them before they could go and play . I’m sorry about that now. This routine brought on a good memory however. For years when my birthday, Mother’s day or Christmas was coming and the kids would ask “mom what do you want . . .” my stock answer was “All I want is a clean house and good children.” As they grew to adults – they often reminded me that I had gotten my wish. They grew to be wonderful people and my house now is usually clean. My son Eddie passed away two years, two months, 25 days ago. I’d loved to go back and have my messy little boy again.

  4. Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing your heart. I, too, can relate to this. So many things that I wish I would have done with Isaac instead of being so stringent on the chores.
    Hugs and blessings,

  5. Pingback: Living with regrets | Grief: One Woman's Perspective

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