I seem to be stumbling upon more and more stories about deathbed regrets. I have been doing a load of writing these days, both sharing publicly and privately; I write as soon as I wake up, freehand, a la The Artist’s Way morning pages, just to dump the garbage out of my head to start the day.
So I was prompted, what would be my deathbed regrets? Free form, just letting it flow, no edits, just a few typos:
I would regret not loving more, that I kept to myself for most of my 40’s because I didn’t think I was good enough for the company of anyone. I was ashamed of myself because I struggled with smoking cigarettes and feeling absolutely horrible about that but was unable to stop. I felt bad for wrecking my marriage to Reed which was another reason I hid out — I didn’t think I was lovable anymore. That has all changed since I’ve made peace with Reed and my mom apologized to me; I, for the first time in my life, felt I had to stop doing bad and harmful things — like smoking, which when I was ready to quit a month after my mom died, I smoked my last butt on the morning of March 11, 2013 and celebrated that freedom without looking back ——— that is until I arrived in Mexico for Thanksgiving. I totally love being a non-smoker and I see now that my years of struggles with that awful trap were a way for me to continue to hide. My thinking was, “no one loves me, so who cares if I smoke?” And so I would smoke and say, “well no one is going to love me because I smoke so who cares, I’ll keep smoking.” It was a vicious cycle and it tormented me for years because I knew that was not who I was deep down and that I had been smothering myself, my true self for a very long time in order to just maintain – but that was hardly maintaining, that was being totally dishonest to who I was deep down and I was a broken girl for many years because of it, or so I thought.
I always knew my mom was not crazy about me. She much preferred my brothers and I knew it and I guess in hindsight it hurt my feelings that she thought I was weird and different and mostly she just tolerated me. But I was definitely the weird one, and that’s how I lived my life, as an outcast, never really understanding that it had anything to do with my mom. I know I had daddy issues — what girl doesn’t, and worked through most of them, but I never made a connection to not feeling loved by my mom. And I’m not blaming her — I know that she was not favored much as a young girl herself — my grandmom preferred the boys over my my mom as well; she was just passing the buck. And unfortunately or now perhaps fortunately, I have always felt too much, always wondered too deep, always searched so high for my answers in life — which drove my mom crazy — and my entire life I have been asking, “what is wrong with me?” and now I know that there was nothing wrong with me, I just didn’t feel loved; I was hungry, and now at this age and intersection of my life, I can do something about this before it is too late and then perhaps I won’t have deathbed regrets of not having loved enough.
My mom said, “y’know, I was wrong about you… I wish I had gotten to know you… I am sorry I was not nicer to you….” and these words were the magic potion that melted the steel cage around around my heart and now I cannot deny loving myself for the first time in my life. At this age of 48, I have connected the dots and understand that there has been nothing wrong with me, and now I choose love.
My mom’s words haunt me on a daily basis and I can live with this because it is a constant reminder that I want to be really good to myself and rise above. I was a sarcastic, angst-ridden woman my whole life, I leaned on pills, booze and smokes; not all of the years, but many of them, in between long stretches of sobriety, yet I would rush back to these vices when the going got tough and they would take my pain away for the moment, for the night, for the moment. I did years of therapy, 12-step groups, alternative therapies, and just flat out abstinence from everything, inducing food one year, and then I would still end up feeling like shit because I picked shitty men, men who didn’t care about me and ignored me and rejected me. I lived life as a healthy person on the outside, because that’s totally who I wanted to be yet on the inside I was grasping for straws and crying and felt lost and unloved and empty and I never understood why and I would work to make money so I could ask yet another professional, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??” and I never got a satisfying answer.
It’s been a wicked ride, without a doubt, because through all of this, I was always up for an adventure and I traveled far and wide to search for these answers or to just escape myself. I think my Spirit kept me alive and searching, knowing that someday I would find that answer — so my Spirit or my Angels or my God or something decided to let me live even though I attempted suicide twice in my young life. My calls for help ran deep.
And who fucking knew that it would be my mothers’ deathbed apology that would sky-rocket me into arriving at the answer to my life-long question and discovering that THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME, IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE.
Love, love, love, I honestly never in a million years realized the answer would be so simple. And when I awoke from the funeral, from the nightmare of losing yet another job, from the freedom of quitting smoking, I looked at myself in the mirror and said,
“well there you are, hi.”
I no longer harm myself with shitty harmful things and people who do not care about me. I intend to live the remainder of life in loud, colorful and vibrant way. Surrounded by love xoxo.
Thank you Mom.