Posted by: Kathy | April 9, 2010

Learning from Mistakes

Longevity runs on my mom’s side of the family. My grandparents were both 92 years old when they died, my grandfather less than a month shy of 93. I was naive and stupid to believe that my mom would follow along the same path and automatically live into her 90s. But I did. Before the words “pancreatic cancer” hit our family like a bomb, I expected to have many more years, even decades, with my mom. In fact, just before my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I had made some personal changes in my life and was planning to make up for time that I had “lost” with my mom over the previous years. I never expected that at age 65 my mom wouldn’t be with us anymore. And I never got to make up that lost time. This is something I deeply regret.

Exactly 10 years ago, I had all four of my grandparents, both my parents, and my son. Out of those 7 people, only 2 are still with me today. It’s a sad fact of life. At that time, I didn’t really think about what my family meant to me, the impact they had on my life. I didn’t truly understand how important these people were to me. And I didn’t realize how lucky I was to be 30 years old and not have lost anyone important in my life.

At the foot of our stairs is a picture of four generations of our family, taken when my son was 4 months old. Less than 6 months after that picture was taken, I lost the first member of my family – my beloved grandfather. Even though he was almost 93 years old, it was a shock to me and his death was sudden and unexpected. Every morning when I come down the stairs I look at that picture. Sometimes I linger for just a moment longer than usual. I might say hi to my mom or remember back to the day when that picture was taken. Sometimes my daughter and I look at the picture together and I talk to her about those special members of my family, most of whom she never met.

I can’t go back into the past, and I can’t make up for the time I feel I lost with my mom. I can’t live my life filled with regrets, as this is something my mom would not want and it wouldn’t be fair to my family. One of the purposes in life is to learn from your mistakes. I now know the true importance of family and will pass this knowledge and the memories I hold in my heart along to my children.


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