July 10, 2012

I regret not playing more. I regret thinking that prestige and success at my career would make me happy. I regret every time I lost my patience with my children. I regret holding back tears that I should have cried with another. I regret hurting people who loved me dearly.

I want to bottle my perspective and give it away for free. I want more days. I want more time to love and be loved. I want to see my girls happy in their lives. I want to hold a grandbaby in my arms. I love that baby now, already. I want to go on college visits. I want to sit, reading, on a beach in Greece one more time. I want those who love me, who will grieve me, not to be too sad for too long. I want those who love me to celebrate my life.

I love really tall sunflowers and coffee in the morning on my patio. I love our home and the fact that Erin wants it to be her home someday. I love a well cooked steak and a good glass of wine. I love cooking for my family and anyone else who happens to be at the house that day. I have never regretted sharing what I have with those I love. I regret not sharing more with complete strangers. I love my children more than I could ever put into words. I love sitting quietly in a room with a friend and not attempting to fill in the silence.

I forgive. I ask to be forgiven.

I hope I’ve done well by my family. I hope they smile when they think of me. I hope they always know I am there, looking out for them. I hope my husband knows I’ve loved him all of this time. I hope my family stays in our home. I hope I am not afraid at the very end.

I regret not giving most of these things much thought before I got sick.


7 Responses to “regrets”

  1. judyhopen Says:

    WoW! ronnie,
    Beautifully spoken-from the heart.

    I’m with ya’ there on that last sentence.
    Too bad our culture doesn’t allow for this until a catastrophe comes along; then suddenly permission is given to LIVE fully present in each moment.

    You are an inspiration!

    …for having taken the reins and riding ‘Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” with determination and zest, and a peace about you that is immeasurable and commendable!

    Remember a death here is a glorious rebirth on the other side of the veil…do not be afraid.
    JUST think of those who will be welcoming you as a newborn, full of joy! & delight! and overwhelming LOVE, into the next realm, just as we anticipate the birth of our babies here!
    I believe it is so, and knowing your Soul/Spirit you have blessed us with a glimpse of, i feel assured that ‘they’ are eagerly awaiting to welcome you into their loving open arms, when you’re ready…

    Peace peace peace to you…
    ~judy Hopen

  2. Kate Says:

    I hope you can feel all of the love and support that your friends are sending to you. Your are truly cared for and so too, will your family be.

  3. Wendy Kenville Says:

    Thank you for sharing…tonight because of you I let my youngest paint a little longer…held her and told her an extra story…I spent extra time with my 10 year old…and I told my husband how much I really love him. Big hugs….may you enjoy all your precious moments…peace to you and your family.

  4. Charli Says:

    Dear Ronnie,
    This is what I believe.
    What I believe about G-d and life and death manifests itself in my work. Before you knew me at the CSC, I was a hospice social worker and an end of life therapist. I worked primarily in areas of East St. Louis, north St. Louis city, south Chicago city and rural southwestern Illinois. In my work, I provided psychotherapy and support to beloved patients and their families. These areas are notably some of the country’s largest violent crime areas, a most unlikely place to find my faith in G-d actually expand, rather than recede. During that time, in the worst of circumstances, in the scariest parts of the city, I saw G-d working. Some of my patient’s homes were full of dysfunction, and at times, conditions were not perfect for caring for a hospice patient, but still, I saw G-d working. I saw G-d caring for each of G-d’s children in what we see as their most fragile moments, in those few minutes before physical death occurs. I saw G-d in the most unlikely places. I saw G-d take pain away from my patients when large doses of morphine could not. I saw G-d whisper into my patient’s ears as they pass away, bringing them peace in what sometimes had been an unmerciful existence.
    I saw G-d as forgiving and merciful to those the rest of the world had forgotten, or simply do not want to see or cannot forgive. I know that G-d is merciful because my patients had peace in those moments.
    One day, I watched G-d work through the 88 year old wife of a patient. I watched G-d assist her in overcoming serious physical impairments to become a most incredible caregiver to her husband of 67 years. I then watched G-d keep her beloved alive until their 68th wedding anniversary passed. He died just 2 hours after midnight, sparing her the difficulty of having the anniversary of his death coincide with the anniversary of their marriage. I listened to her tell her nurse, “please don’t send a hospital bed, we don’t need it really, my husband still puts his arms around me at night”. Sometimes my patients died on birthdays or holidays, I think perhaps G-d has a reason for this. Perhaps it is G-d’s way of telling us that our loved one wanted us to, with time, have the capacity to feel joy on that day.
    I saw G-d bring clarity to the mind of the patient with dementia who just yesterday could not remember his daughter’s name.
    Through a 4-year-old granddaughter who has crawled into bed with her grandmother, I was asked to hear G-D. In the exact moment of her grandmother’s physical death, this shy little girl shouts to those of us who are busy preparing other family members for this transition, “shhhhhhhhh………. I hear G-d calling grandma”.
    I saw G-d bring estranged and incarcerated family members home to the bedside of the dying patient just in time for them to say goodbye. But in contrast, I saw G-d grant the wish of the dying who wished to make their transition without us at their side. We can’t understand why it happens that way sometimes, but we can find comfort in knowing that this was probably their wish, even if they never told any of us about it.
    I felt G-d hold the hand of the homeless man who spent life pushing others away and never wanted to acknowledge that G-d was there for him until the final moments of his life.
    G-d provided me then, and provides me now, with the words to give back to those who ask me “What will the end be like for me?” and “Do you believe in hell?”.
    When I tell these patients that after 18 years of journeying with hospice patients, I’ve yet to see one pass with fear, they tell me they are relieved that someone will sit with them with their doubts and express to them that in my very humble opinion…….they shouldn’t fear meeting up with G-d face to face. What I have seen, thanks to G-d, Torah, and most of all the people that I’ve worked with in my career, what I see are people who aren’t at all fragile in these moments. The body is fragile. After all, it’s just a temporary package that isn’t built to last forever. But the soul, well, that’s another story. The soul becomes strong. Strong enough to make a transition that is far beyond our mind’s capacity to understand. Their transition makes us weep for our loss, but this transition is their beginning.
    They are at their Bereshit, which in Hebrew means The beginning of a new amazing existence. An existence with no pain………. no loneliness…….. no judgments and no regrets. G-d has taken away my fear of death by showing me that we are given a full spiritual life in our most mundane everyday interactions, and even in physical death. Your presence in our lives has been a blessing Ronnie, and will remain a blessing until we ourselves transition to the next place. Peace be with you at this time dear one. You have mattered in my professional and in my personal life. You will remain in my heart until I see you again one day.

  5. Larissa Forsythe Says:

    Ronnie, your honesty, your tenderness and your limitless capacity for love are inspirational. And what your doing with this blog is immortalizing those things – and giving them back to those who love you, again and again and again. God’s Peace and Blessings be with you and your loved ones always.

  6. Evie Appel Says:

    Ronnie, I care for you and your family and I have been praying for a change in things. You, however, have given me the strength to look at life and death in a different way. I liked you and your family as soon as I met all of you in church. You are always in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Carolyn Engel Says:

    Ronnie, you are such a gift to everyone who knows you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, insights, words of wisdom. You express everything so beautifully. A new light will be shining in Heaven when you go there. Thanks for being a light for us here on earth. Many blessings to you and your family. You are always in my thoughts and prayers, too.

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