I am 35 years old, I have four beautiful children of my own and two wonderful stepsons, I have an ex who I am still friends with and a partner that I am growing with and loving more every day. I could have taken a few other roads in my life that might have given me a better career or more money or something else I don’t know I’m missing. I have had hardships and horrible moments in my life but in all my years in this lifetime I only have one true regret and I’d like to share it with you.
On July 24th, 1993, my grandmother passed away, she was 84 and died peacefully in her sleep with my mother by her side. There was no shock to her death as she had been quite ill beforehand and although I was sad that she had died, I didn’t grieve for her much at that time. I was also 14 and going to camp so I had a lot to distract me from grief.
The camp I attended was called Teen Time and it was a wonderful place, lake, cabins, horses, bears, campfires, games, and the whole package with some Christian teachings in there as well. My brother and I had found the camp together and it wasn’t long before we became fixtures of the place, more so my brother Desmond as he loved horses and anything to do with ranching.
I was in training to be a counselor that year and was having so much fun with friends and animals but I was a little resentful towards Desmond because I was feeling like I was often referred to as Desmond’s sister and longed to be recognized for my own merits and not his. So even though we saw each other every day and growing up we had been best friends, that summer, he was not my favorite person.
On the evening of August 16th as we were all gathered around the campfire while a leader spoke about Jesus and loss I finally came to a point of grief for my grandmother. I was crying as everyone wandered off to their cabins for the night and as I turned to go I saw my brother.
He saw me crying and there was such love and understanding in his eyes, all I really wanted to do was run into his arms and cry with him. I didn’t. Instead I chose to hang on to my anger towards him and I left to go cry by myself on the beach.
That was the last time I saw my brother.
He died the next day in a car accident on the way to be in the local town’s parade.
When I think of the children that died last Friday I think of that moment. My only moment of regret.
My message to you is to honor their deaths by loving the ones close to you.
Hug everyone every day just because you can and let go of all the anger all the resentments and bitterness, forgive everyone, including yourself and just love everyone just because you can…today.