Sometimes I lie. There, said it. Done. I lie because I believe in fake it til you make it. So, sometimes if you ask me how I am and I say great. I might be holding back a bit. And then, if you ask me if there is anything in my life I regret...I already know my ready answer...if I changed anything about what has happened in my past, I would not be who I am today. That part is true. But, there is one thing I would definitely change. And this is one of those memories that could bring me to that fetal position I am always mentioning, so forgive me if this post seems like a racer is writing it instead of a writer. It feels like if I race through the memory I won't have to sit with it for quite so long. Why share it then? That will become clear as I finish the memory.
Mom had moved to Shrewsbury with me in April of 2007. We bought a house with an in-law apartment attached. The deal was that I was going to help her go through her changes as she got older and she was going to help me with her granddaughter. From April to September we had some great times. But in the interest of being really honest, we also had times we wanted to strangle each other. That is family for you! Mostly I remember dinners on the deck and going into her apartment at 7 am to tell her daycare was now open. That meant I was leaving and it was on mom to get Krista ready for her day and on the bus. She was so good at it that they played games together before going out to the bus. I also remember coming home on beautiful days and smelling the afternoon coffee she had just made for us. It really wasn't like we lived separately. The door separating us was open most of the time!
Then she went to VT for a weekend in September. She had the time of her life seeing her old friends and I loved how happy she was upon her return on Sunday. That Monday she called me at work and told me she would not be able to meet Krista off the bus. She mentioned her leg had been hurting her for some time and the pain was at the point where she needed to see the doctor. It is so funny how that call should have sparked worry, but didn't and it was my now husband who asked, "should you be driving her?" I called her to ask and she said not at all and I went about my regular day.
When she got out of her car after the doctor I could see she was not happy. They believed it was a clot and ran some tests that would have results the next day. We invited mom to dinner on the deck but she chose take out instead (Krista delivered the burger up to her) and I remember her on the computer saying, "I am going to diagnose myself." My husband (who wasn't my husband at the time) was there for quite awhile with us that night. The pain got so bad for mom that she could not walk across the room even with help. We wondered if we should take her to the hospital while someone was there to watch Krista. Mom did not want that and so he left.
As the night went on, the pain got worse even as she was just sitting there. I begged her to let me take her to the hospital. She only wanted help getting to bed. Once we got her across the room and into bed she knew it was so bad she needed to go to the hospital. She said I could call the doctor but that she wanted something from me first. I will never forget the whole scene and the sound of her voice when she said, "just lie down next to me for awhile." And I did, but I wish when I did I had stopped my brain. I wish I had rubbed her back or held her hand or anything to just be in that moment more carefully and fully. All I could think about was getting her to the hospital. I didn't stay fully and I didn't stay long enough and that is the single regret I have in my life. I am sure I made tons of mistakes in those months she was sick. I am sure I could have said better things, acted better, push doctors more as my sister did so readily. But if I could go back and change one thing, I would go back to that night and I would lie there quietly beside her until she said she was ready for me to call the ambulance.
Why share it? Because we can learn from other's regrets. I hope that the next time somebody says to you, "just be with me." You can do it fully and you never have to look back and wish you had truly fulfilled that request.