I spent a lot of time during my mom’s illness just wishing things could go back to the way they were. I mainly focused on what I had lost and I just wanted my mom to go back to the way she was before she got sick.
At some point, it hit me.
“Oh wait, my mom is going to die from this someday. There’s no going back to the way she was. There’s only the way she is right now. And someday, I won’t even have that anymore.”
I’m not sure when exactly I had this realization, but once I did, my whole perspective changed. I began to focus less on what I had lost and more on what I still had. I began to focus less on my grief and more on my gratitude. I began to focus less on myself and more on my mom.
It wasn’t about me. It was about her.
It was about making the rest of her life the best possible life she could have with what she still had.
Was it as good as her life would have been if she never got sick? No.
But was it the best life we could give her given our circumstances? Absolutely.
And it was definitely a life she never would have had if I had continued to focus mainly on my pain, my grief, and myself.
At some point, you realize what the end of this journey means and it forces you to reconsider how you’ve been playing the hand you’ve been dealt.
You will waste away what precious time you still have with your loved one if all you see is what you no longer have.
You will regret it if you spend the rest of your loved one’s life wishing you could go back to a past life that no longer exists.
There’s no going back. There’s only right now.
Take what you have today and make the most of it and then repeat that each and every day for as long as your loved one is still here with you.
Someday, today will be the day you wish you could go back to, but you won’t be able to.
Accepting your loved one’s illness is hard.
Being grateful for anything in the midst of it is hard.
Showing up and trying to make the most of each day is hard.
But friends, regret is so much harder.