As a writer, I don’t waste any new emotion that surfaces inside of me. I probe and consider. So lately I’ve been exploring the fringes of regret.

To be honest, I didn’t expect this one. My father died recently at age 90 and we all knew he was fading. I was determined in his last years to have no regrets. I spent extra time visiting, going to gatherings and birthday parties. He got extra hugs (he wasn’t a huggy kind of guy but he seemed to like them in his later years) and I had a chance to thank him for his input into my life.

I didn’t want to have regrets. And I don’t regret any of those things.

But as I journey through the pain of his loss, I find unexpected regrets. Regret that he won’t ever finish the engine project in the garage. Regret that he’ll never again stand in his corn field, shovel in hand. Regret that he won’t see his youngest grandchildren get married.

Regrets for what he will never do now.

That regret strikes me when I least expect it, with a sharp jab that makes me draw a long breath.

I know he’s in a better place. He held to his faith when everything else slipped away. He was anxious to go home. And it helps me to imagine him with young legs, a strong back, a mind that once again can solve a broken object.

But I want to seize the new insights for my own life. What do I want to do before it’s my turn to join him before our Lord?

I have a few things on my mind and they’re rising to the top of my priority list. We’ll always have regrets but I’m planning to reduce the list. My sister and I often joke that we rush in where angels fear to tread. I’m thinking it’s time to ramp that up a bit.


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