I’ve been a bit sad lately.  Actually, everyone in my family has been.  It’s so hard to lose a beloved member of your family. But I believe it’s especially difficult when they pass away during the Holiday Season. Because this is supposed to be such a fun and joyous time. But for us, we have a grey shadow hanging over us this year…keeping us from being 100% joyful and festive. Everything we do – decorating, Christmas shopping, listening to holiday music – just reminds us of who we are missing this year.
Tony, Afton, Alex and Avery with their Grandma Bernadette ~ Halloween 2001
I keep thinking about random things….
Like the last time we spoke:  just two weeks ago she texted me to ask for ALL the kids’ clothing sizes.  So I did.  And a day later she called to thank me, telling me that she now had ALL of her Christmas shopping completed.  (I hadn’t even started my holiday shopping, yet she was done! That was SO like her.  Always a month ahead of the game.)   And that was the last time I heard her voice.  If I had known it would be the last time, I would have kept her on the phone longer.
Like how she won’t see my kids grow up.  Some of them won’t even remember her.  I should have taken more pictures of her with each child.
Like how she won’t be at Audriana’s high school graduation this coming spring. Knowing all the hardships that Audriana faced with her brain injury, I know she would have been especially excited to attend her graduation ceremony. She has always been so proud of Audriana, but I bet this day would have shined in her memory. I should have ordered Audriana’s senior photos so that I could have sent her one. At least she would have been able to see her graduation photo, the one that will be in her yearbook and in the graduation announcements. 
Like how she and Audriana had a cruise to Hawaii planned to celebrate her high school graduation. They were going to go the week after her graduation.  Audriana had already saved close to $400 for this trip, and she was so excited.  It makes me sad that they will never take this trip together.  Thankfully, I can be happy that they did take a cruise together to Mexico a few summers ago.  At least Audriana will always have that memory.  
Like how we haven’t had a Thanksgiving with her in …. well, I can’t even remember how long ago it was. And every year she called to ask us what our plans were. And never once did she ever give us grief about not spending it with her. Not once.  If I had known that last Thanksgiving  2010 was going to be her final one here on earth, I would have been at her house without even thinking twice.
Like how I never got to give her the “my grandkids” picture frame that I bought for her about a year ago. I was planning on giving it to her as a Christmas gift this year.  I should have given it to her on her birthday in June.
Like how I was always “going to” make a scrapbook album for her of all her kids and grandkids. She would have loved that!  If I weren’t always so darn busy, I could have given her one for her 65th birthday.  If I had known that she was going to pass away on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011,  I would have MADE the time to make one.  I would have stayed up  all hours of the night for a week straight just to make it for her.  If I only had known.

Like the last time we visited her house was this past June for her 65th birthday party. I was playing with my new camera and started taking random shots of all the photos on her walls, all the frog collectibles that she had lying around the house, etc.  I was just playing with the settings on my camera, and so when my memory card filled up, I deleted all those photos thinking them unimportant.  And now, well I just wish I still had those pictures on my memory card.  I would have liked that detailed memory of how her house “looked” while she was still living in it.

Regrets?  Yep, they are there.  

I hate regrets.

With all the people we love in our lives, how do we live our days as if each person could leave us at any moment?  How do we remember to do that?  To make sure that there are never any regrets? Or are regrets just a part of the normal emotions you feel  when you lose someone you love?  I’m starting to think that I need to make a list for every person who I love, and on that list I will write what I have been meaning to do, to say, to write, to take pictures of, etc… and work on completing that list so that I never, ever miss a single thing ever again.

Because living with any form of regret really sucks, especially when it’s too late to fix it.

(Sorry this is such a bummer post, but it all can’t be rainbows and roses, you know.)

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  1. says

    I have tears in my eyes writing this. I will be 65 next birthday, so it really struck a note. I am so sorry for your loss, and surely this is a reminder for us all,that we should all take time to spend with our loved ones and let them know just how much they mean to us, and NOT to put things off, whether it’s paying a visit, picking up the telephone, or sending an e-mail. Hugs to you.

  2. says

    I lost my grandmother officially on Dec 27, but she had her accident on Dec 26, 1am two years ago. I was pregnant with my first child. I understand what you are going through, I am always thinking about how my girls didn’t get to meet, know and love such an amazing person. Hugs to you and your family.

  3. says

    Thisisme wrote about you on her blog today and suggested we come here so I did!

    I understand this very well.

    I’m so sorry about your loss. It’s never easy especially at the Holidays.

    Love and hugs,

  4. says

    I came by from Thisisme. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Life is too short and we need to make sure we always let our loved ones know we love them. It’s not about the presents. It’s not about the material things. It’s about telling them you love them. I lost the love of my life after 23 great years of marriage. I know of what I speak. I know that he knew how much I loved him and that makes going on so much easier I think. It sounds to me like she knew she was loved!!!

  5. Anonymous says

    After all the regrets are done, concentrate on all the good times you did share, all the good memories you did have, how your children were lucky to have such a great loving grandmother, all those things I know you know.

    I am sure she felt your love and your children’s love and that meant more to her than anything else could. Have your regrets, it is part of grieving, but then go back and dwell on the good stuff.
    Find a way to enjot the Holidays, it is what she would want.
    Bset wishes,

  6. says

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this hard time. Last Mother’s Day I lost my oldest sister (79), it helped to think of her being with our Mom on that Momma Day and with her oldest son. Since then we lost my niece’s husband (61) and this year we lost my husbands brother (75) next to him in May and his other brother (77) in October. He (73) is the only son left and his one sister (84) are the only ones left in that branch of the family. The best advice I can share is concentrate of all the GOOD memories of the wonderful person she was. That will help. LOVE TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

  7. says

    Hi there!

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I know all to well what it’s like to lose someone you deeply love and care about, no matter what time of the year it is but it’s really hard around the holidays.

    Hang in there. Try to be strong for your children and your husband.

    I’m thinking of you – even though we are not friends per say, I feel like we are through this blog.


  8. Steph says

    please dont do that to yourself. you know she wouldnt want that for you. you gave her the best gifts–grandchildren.
    my MIL passed in September and my husband regrets not doing more but it is impossible to literally live like it is everyone’s last day on earth. i’m sure she knew she was loved. I am so sorry for your loss.

  9. says

    Came over on ThisIsMe’s recommendation. We all have regrets over what should and could have been. I’ve lost my parents and have many wishes of things I could have would have done. The important thing to do now is celebrate all the good memories you created with her and make more with those still here with you. She would love that…

    Blessings and love…your heart will heal, the pain will lesson, and you will always hold her in your heart!

  10. says

    I am so very sorry to hear from Diane (Thisisme) about your loss, Katrina. You have written so beautifully and evocatively of her and she would be so proud of you, of that I am certain.

  11. says

    I lost one grandparent the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2000. I can relate to everything you’ve written. I need to do better every day.

    I’m so sorry for your loss and your grief. I really just have no words…I still miss mine.

  12. Anonymous says

    I lost my paternal grandmother suddenly on dec. 21, 1997. I was 15. We buried her on Xmas eve. It has marred the holiday a bit even all these years later. On the last day of her life she came over to my parents’ to have dinner. I left after a very short while to, of all things, go fool around with my boyfriend (who’s now my husband). Her aorta burst that night & she passed. I feel very guilty I left, especially for that reason. Sorry for your family’s loss. It’s always so hard when someone goes without warning. :(

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