Living with regrets

When they are born, children don’t come with manuals. As parents, we are left to do the best we can with the resources we have. Some of us have better resources than other; some of us have to do the best we can with what we have and the what we learned from our parents.

My family means the world to me, and I tried to do the best job I could to be the best parent I could be. I would do anything for each of them. My heart is so full of love for them that, at times, I feel like I can’t contain it. But, I know that, in some ways, I failed miserably as a parent. And no matter how much I love them, it doesn’t change the fact that I have regrets and wish I had done some things differently.

Some things that I thought were so important when my kids were small have proven over time not to be that important. I wish I could go back and do some things again, knowing what I know now. More patience, more fun. But, we never get that chance. Never. Ever. One shot. That’s it. I can never make the wrongs right. And, when a child dies, the opportunities to do better or to make new memories are gone. When I remember those days when I didn’t do such a good job, the regrets weigh heavy.

I hope my kids remember the good things more than the bad. How I got up every year at 3 a.m. to make cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning. The looking for weeks for the perfect things to put in their Easter baskets, and then getting up at 7 a.m. to put them together so they would be waiting when they got up first thing on Easter morning. The way I tried to keep our refrigerator and pantry stocked with things they and their friends liked so they would always have their favorites to eat. Keeping lots of things in the house for crafts so they and their friends would always have something to do. Glue, glitter, fabric paint, paper, pens, stickers. Baking, picking strawberries. 4th of July celebrations. Making Halloween costumes. Christmas morning traditions. Birthday parties. Ice skating lessons, roller blading. Sewing a birthday gift outfit from scratch for one of Jenna’s friends from a sketch she drew when she was 5. On and on. So much of what I did, I did with them in mind. I hope they know that.

I did try. I hope they remember that and forgive the rest. I am not perfect – far from it. I can’t change the past, no matter how much I wish I could. And, so, I have to live with regret. None of us are perfect. I know that. I guess that’s where extending grace and forgiveness to ourselves and to each other has to be.

© 2017 Rebecca R. Carney


This entry was posted in Death of a child, Family, Grief, Jason David Carney and tagged by Rebecca Carney - One Woman's Perspective. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rebecca Carney - One Woman's Perspective

My name is Becky Carney. My husband, Joe, and I have been married for 42 years. We have two living children, Eric (38) and Jenna (33). We lost a baby in utero at 19 weeks in 1987. In 2002, our middle son, Jason (19), and his best friend, Alina (20), were broadsided by a drunk driver who was going at least twice the speed limit. They both died instantly. This blog is written from my perspective as a bereaved parent. I don't claim to know what it's like to walk in anyone else's shoes. Each situation is different; each person is different. Everyone handles grief differently. But if I can create any degree of understanding of what it's like to be a parent who has lost a child, then I have succeeded in my reason for writing this blog.

7 thoughts on “Living with regrets

  1. Much love Rebecca. I have been thinking along the same lines this week – all the things I would do differently if I had a do-over knowing what I know now. Like you say, kids don’t come with instruction manuals and my son was so different that no book could have clued me in to what he needed. We just have to feel our way. Now, after much prayer and study, I believe that this life is only a moment in the scheme of things, that our relationships with those we truly love continue, and all things will be made right. Still even knowing that the pangs of regret still come.

  2. My heart aches for you as I read your post, Becky. This is all about what grief stole from you. Whatever you’ve regretted – had Jason not died, I don’t think you would in this place of analyzing the past. I look back at my son’s short life; it was filled with horrible hospital moments and I tried to have traditions, but it was so hard.
    Your son was stolen in an instant. To process that takes years and years. Every breath and gift you gave of love to your children is inside of you still. Whether Jason is gone, he loved those memories and there are so many parts of them to hold onto.
    I know you are suffering and I’m glad you can write about it. Love got me through. Your love is there and no amount of regretting will ever change that. You never deserved to lose him.

  3. I only have warm and fuzzy feelings about my childhood. I hope that Vic had warm feelings about her childhood. Do I have regrets about the way I brought up Vic? Hell yes! Lots of love my friend

  4. You know, Rebecca, I have written about this exact thing before. Yes, there are so many regrets when a child dies. I don’t know if we could have done anything different to have changed the outcome. All I know is that we did what we thought was best at the time. Like you, we kept the fridge stocked so Jake and his friends would like being here, we did so many things as a family, gave him the chance to experience a wealth of diverse things, music, art, science, family, but in the end, what we have are the memories of the good times and the bad. Sadly, we don’t have any other children to move forward with, it seems as if we are stuck, left with those endless questions, and no chance for a do-over. Peace to you.

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