Things come to my mind at odd times. Old memories can be stirred from an activity that I’m doing. Or places that I am visiting (both new and old places).
Over a shared bottle of wine with my husband, between appetizers and our main course, he started to talk about his ski patrol days… of how sometimes he misses it but does not miss the commitment level he had to put in every weekend just to be able to afford skiing.
I told him I don’t fully understand this concept – not that I disagree with it, it’s just not something I have been through. The closest I’ve ever been to that level of intense team work was during my dragon boating days. And while I have no regrets of those days, I don’t miss it. I see it as a different part of my life – one that I’m over with. And that’s always been my case. I do something until I’m ready to move on to another phase of my life. I never realized this about myself until I had this conversation.
And so these times of regrets for me are far and few. I will work hard to get to a level I am satsified of achieving and then it’s on to something else. I wonder if this will happen with snowboarding? It is getting harder and harder on my body with age. And as frustrating as I get at it, I am not yet ready to give-up for downhill skiing.
But I do have regrets. And for some reason, I suppose it is because Doug brought up his days of ski patrolling, where I started to remember Tamara.
Chaeli then asked who Tamara was. So I told her, “She was daddy’s ex-girlfriend. From before mommy.” I added the last statement in quickly to avoid any confusion on my daughter’s part.
I was then finding myself filled with regret. And so, perhaps from 1/3rd bottle of red wine I had in me by then, I said to my daughter, “I regret not getting to know Tamara more.”
She looked at me perplexed, “Why? Wouldn’t that have been awkward anyway?”
“Yes, it was awkward between Tamara and I when we first met. But she tried. I didn’t. I let my insecurities get the best of me. And saw her as a threat.”
“But why does it matter now?”
Chaeli was still very young at the time. Not even in pre-school when we got the call. Doug got the call, actually – from a former ski-patroller. When Doug hung up, I knew something was not right. I asked him what was wrong and he whispered, “Tamara… she took her own life.”
Now, I’m not saying that had I had not allowed my walls to block her out, that her and I would have become good friends. Or that had we had become friends, I would have been able to do something to ensure her life did not end so early and so tragically.
She suffered from mental health disorder. And she tried to overcome it. But even with her life filled with love, a huge community and all the great volunteer work she did, nothing could end her suffering.
I regret for selfish reasons. I know now, as I look back and remember her through clearer eyes and more confidence of who I am, that she was a good person. Who would have touched my life much more had I given her a chance (given myself a chance, that is).
So when it comes to people I can have regrets. Through my actions or no actions at all. I do and can have regrets.