We have all heard plenty of quotes and platitudes about living life with no regrets because you never know when your last moment is. Greg and I wanted to live this way when he was first diagnosed with vEDS. We wanted things to be perfect and nice and orderly. I wanted to make sure my last interaction with him before he left the house everyday was a loving one. Because what if it was the last time I saw him? These thoughts are nice, but they aren’t real. This is perfectionist thinking, and it isn’t healthy. Thinking this way can stop you from dealing with things that really need to be dealt with. Of course we should be loving and kind and express our appreciation for people. But we can’t expect ourselves to leave things in a perfect state. That’s not life. The fear that things would be left messy when Greg died stopped me from addressing some big things that needed to be addressed. Because addressing those things would make a mess, and we didn’t want a mess. I finally got the courage to make a mess, and he died in the middle of it…
My relationship with Greg was pretty rocky the last month of his life. We were dealing with some big, heavy, and important things that needed to change. My last interaction with Greg was quite possibly the biggest fight we ever had. I will never forget the fire and hurt in his eyes the last time I saw him, right before I stomped off and slammed the door to the house. He drove away. That was the last time we spoke. Sad, right? We had so many more moments of love and appreciation for each other, but our last moments together were filled with anger and words that would have been better unsaid.
If I had known it was the last time I would see him, my words to him would have been different. If he had known it was our last conversation, I know he would have said different things as well. We would have put aside our struggles and told each other how much we loved each other. Because we did. The hard things we were dealing with did not erase our love for each other at all. You don’t have big fights with people you don’t love.
I have found myself wishing we had some time at the hospital before he died so he could go when we were on good terms. The next time I saw him after our fight, he was already gone. At first, I was traumatized at the sight of his lifeless body. His coloring was wrong, he had a tube in his mouth, and he just didn’t look like himself. I held his hand, and it was still warm, but coldness was starting to set in. I couldn’t bear to stay with his body. How I wish now that I would have stayed with him and finished our conversation. But that’s not where I was. It was too much to process. I needed to escape the room. That’s okay.
It fills me with sadness that we never got to continue our conversation. It doesn’t seem fair that we didn’t have more time to make order of our mess. I regret our last conversation, but I don’t regret making the mess. I only regret that it took so long to make it.
It’s okay to live life with regrets. It means you aren’t afraid to make mistakes, address things that are messy, and dig deep so you can make things better in the end. This life is messy. We can’t always have things lined up and in order. No relationship is perfect, no person is perfect, and it isn’t helpful to pretend.
My relationship with Greg was filled with enough love and goodness that we can both put aside the things that were said. When we meet again, things will be different, and the mess will be cleaned up. Addressing difficult things has opened up a path to healing for many people, and I am grateful.
Live life with love, always striving to be your best, and not being afraid of making mistakes. It’s okay to live life with regrets.