Saturday, May 15, 2010

Regrets & What If's

Regret is an appalling waste of energy, you can't build on it: it's only good for wallowing in. ~~Katherine Mansfield

For most (if not all) of us who have lost a child – there is regret and there are the “what-if’s”.. I thought this segment from “If you Want What We Haveby Joan Larkin is a different way of looking at this topic…

Our comment might be: Someone I hoped would be an important part of my life for years to come has left. I'm devastated. I don't know how much of what happened is my fault; I keep thinking, "If only I hadn't said what I said . . . "

Instead consider this: Human lives are filled with all kinds of separation. Friends, mates, and family members - the people in our lives are only lent to us. If they accompany us for some part of our journey, we're blessed. We don't get to control or keep them.

Sentences beginning "if only" can go nowhere but straight to regret. They support our false belief that we can control what happens in other people's lives. "I should have," "I could have," and "I would have" are all variations on the same theme. They postpone acceptance and necessary grieving.

At times it's we, ourselves, who do the leaving. We can count it a success, not a failure, when we've had the courage to acknowledge the truth of an ending.
 Today, though I may go through some pain as I learn acceptance, I rejoice in the strength and clarity it gives me. ~~ Joan Larkin

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