Sunday, April 27, 2008

Gray matter calisthenics...

Joan asked, "1. When did you say no, when you wished you
had said yes? and 2. When did you say yes, when you
wished you had said no?"

Well, now... 1. I flew home, to Ohio, for a visit. Mid '70s.
Spent about a week with friends and family, including
my maternal grandmother, who was dying. Cancer.
On my last day, my parents were driving me to the
airport and said they would stop by Grandma's so I
could say good-bye.
I freaked, burst into tears and said I couldn't handle
seeing her again. I knew it would be the last time.

Mom and Dad exchanged confused glances, but said
nothing and continued to the airport.

I barely regained enough composure to say good-bye
to them and get myself on the plane.

It was less than two months later when I got the call
that Grandma died. I flew back for the funeral.

I was her favorite. I will never forgive myself for not
seeing her one last time. I let her down.

2. I should have said 'no' when Michael asked me to
marry him. (Go to my archives for May 2007.)

Dianne asked, "1. Are you happy? 2.What is your
favorite color? 3.What color are your eyes?"

1. I am when I remember to pay attention. When I
remember to look clearly at my life and myself.
When I remember how blessed I am with friends and
family and good health and a sense of humor and enough
intelligence to make a living. And big boobs.
2. I don't have a favorite color. I love them all.
3. My eyes are green. Kind of a moss green.


Abbadon said...

I will never forgive myself for not
seeing her one last time.

The real question is, did she feel that there was something to forgive?

If she knew to her dying day that you loved her, you may be putting an unfair burden on your own shoulders...

Just something to think about.

Hugs, Jean.

Erica said...

Missed opportunities: I missed the opportunity to say goodbye to my aunt, who died the next day, and who I subsequently dream about constantly.

Knowing exactly how awful it feels, I feel for you. I think we’re possibly left to deal with that pain as a reminder to make sure we don’t make the same mistake twice.

The other stuff: I’m wondering after reading this if we aren’t separated at birth. When I cease paying attention, not just looking “at” but rather within, I become exceedingly disappointed in myself.

You’re a very deep and earnest peep. You’re also the only other person I know, I think in my whole life, who has green eyes (I do too).

Joan of Argghh! said...

Dear me, Jean! I had never read your archives, but I am glad you linked your story there.

As for the goodbyes we either aren't allowed, or cannot face, it's good to remember that it is a simple humanity we've been given. We must have faith that others are like we are in our best moments: that we love and care and don't even think about imagined slights or missed opportunities.

We are in a relationship with our loved ones. Miles and years do not diminish that truest of love; we are just glad to be together when we are together. It is possible that your Grandmother did not miss or need your "goodbye". Perhaps she relished your very being for itself (not hard to imagine!) and what it added to her life.

As Mark wisely says, don't be unfair to yourself or to that dear one who, if you so believe, is waiting to one day pick up where y'all left off.

Jean said...

Mark - thank you, sweetie.
I hope she knew.

Erica - Living so far away from family made things like this difficult. Life lesson.
Now you're making me wonder about the green eyes thing... I can't think of anyone else, either.

Jean said...

Thanks, Joan... we do tend to forgive a lot in those we love. And, as you and Mark say, it might not have been noticed. We are often our own worst critics.

Carteach0 said...

I have a similar 'should have said yes', and it haunts me to this day. Probably always will....
Enough that I won't do details.

dianne said...

I would just like to say, Jean dont be so hard on yourself about your Grandmother, they are more understanding than we realise & I'm sure she knew you loved her.
Yes we should all choose more wisely when it comes to saying yes to proposals of marriage. Happiness? I am when I remember to pay attention ! Ok I guess we all have to think about that as it's not always spontaneous & there, but you sound as if you have plenty to be happy about.
Big boobs! No, mine are double D's too wish they were smaller.
Good that you like all colours.
My eyes are also a greenish colour too, kind of hazel/olive.
Thanks for your answers Jean. Another hug from me.

hoosierboy said...

It makes me happy to know you have big boobs.

Abbadon said...

As Mark wisely says,

Oh my. Flattery is always welcome!

Jean - You're welcome. As you say, we are our own worst critics. I guess I would say that balancing a lifetime of love given and received to a moment of panic shouldn't result in another lifetime of regret.

Have a good day, all!

Faith said...

Hi Jean,
I'm sending hugs. I know your grandmother loved you and understood. Those experiencing the death process have insights that we have not yet experienced. I say this as one that has worked around those dieing. Some don't want their families to see them in this state. They want the family to remember them in their healthy days. Many, in their wisdom, choose who they want to die with. We were with my Aunt constantly. We went home to sleep and she died. The same occured with my Uncle. I know these words may not provide comfort but the dieing person wants to spare their family. It is not done in a concious way.

Don't be hard on your self. As you said you were her favorite. She loved you dearly! Hold on to that love and the memories. Don't burden yourself with the should haves. You did what was best for you and I know she understood.

Nea said...

I think probably most people's biggest regret is not seeing someone they wish they had, just before they passed away. I know that it is mine, several times. It just doesn't seem to be something easy for me to do, and then I am always sorry. So I know this feeling for sure.

Aunt Judy
My Dad.....

All passed without me saying goodby, it is something I will always regret, but not sure it would have made it any easier for them. So who knows what is right.

Jean said...

Art, I'm sorry.

Dianne, you're welcome dear.

HB, it makes me happy to know you're happy.

Mark, sometimes you just oooooooze wisdom. Thanks, hon.

Thank you, Faith.

Nea, long time no see!
'who knows what is right', indeed.

Hammer said...

All my missed opprotunities involved things I shouldn't have done anyway.

Thanks for sharing those with us.

Rantin' Ron said...

Call me shallow but you had me at 'big boobs'.

I know...I'm pitiful.

Actually, I share the same guilt about my maternal Grandmother's passing. I should have gone to see her before she died be honest...she was an ornery old broad!

LOL...I think she'd appreciate me saying that!

kdzu said...

Ron and I seem to share taste in at least one thing......well OK 2
I remember that it was an almost unbearable thing to have to cope with the death of loved ones when young.
My maternal grandmother died of stomach cancer and I didn't visit her enough. Same with my grandfathers.
7 years ago when my mother lay dying, we had been by her bedside for a couple of weeks. I had already told her I loved her and that we would be alright, she didn't have to hang on for any of us. We went home and she passed that night. There is no cause for regret of the passing.......only that you may have understood things better.

Winston said...

I've got greenish eyes, though my DL says they are hazel, whatever that is. But my boobs are just normal size for a guy...

Doom said...

It is always nice to learn little tidbits (don't worry, I am not the sneaky sort or the mean sort) of your life. And, of course, there is always the sharing of blessings. You remembering and enumerating allows me a fresh take on my own things. Though, your thoughts have left me in a quandary. From what you have written, I am not sure I CAN be happy, ultimately.

You see, I don't have big boobs!

I just thought I'd say hello, catch up on some of your writing, and perhaps leave you with something for your effort.

Steph said...

Don't torture yourself like that. You went back to see her and saw her that one last time already. Just because you were emotionally too petered out to see her on the way to the airport doesn't make you a bad person.