Have you ever thought about what you would do if someone offered you the chance to go back in time and change one thing in your life?
That is what went through my mind tonight. In my head I saw myself at fifteen. We lived in Florida. I walked into our dining room and saw my mom with a cigarette in her hand. My first thought was to yell at her and beg her to quit smoking. Maybe if she quit then she wouldn’t develop lung cancer and die. Wouldn’t leave me alone.
Dramatic much? Yeah, but that is how I’m feeling tonight. Alone.
Then I mentally composed a letter to my brother. The one who died. The first one to leave way before his time. What did I say?
Do you want to know what I learned so far in life? Sometimes you need to take a chance. A leap of faith and hope that you will land on your feet. You need to live each day like you won’t get another one. Sometimes you will fall flat on your face. Other times you will find something amazing. Do you remember when you wrote me that letter? You were traveling I don’t know where. You said it was a dog eat dog world. I didn’t even know what that meant at the time. What fifteen year old does? I get it now.
Life is never guaranteed. You are not promised a tomorrow.
I’ve learned that the hard way. As one by one I’ve lost people I’ve loved. If I could change something it would start with you. It’s been almost eighteen years… I can’t even remember your voice anymore. What I’d wish though is for you to be able to be here to see your daughter to have been given the chance to watch her grow up, to have been allowed to love her and feel her love in return. You’ve both lost something precious. She’s strong and resilient. I know you would be proud of her.
Maybe if you’d been here you could have been the one to force Mom to realize she was smoking her life away. Who knows? I don’t. I know that when she went into remission the first time I went into denial. When she said she’d quit over and over I wanted to believe her. She didn’t quit until it was too late. Watching her in her last days–that will never leave me. Having her cry on my shoulder and tell me she wasn’t ready to die broke my heart. What could I do? Nothing, I was helpless.
Mom was the last to leave, but you were the first. I know you didn’t have a choice. If you’d been given one you’d still be here. Mom would still be here. Hell I know my dad would be too. This is how I know nothing is guaranteed. How we have to try to seize each moment and hold onto it for all its worth.
I know I’m not unique. I’m not the only one who has lost someone or even the one with the most tragic stories. Other people feel alone too. I’m just tired and yes, alone. I don’t want to be the strong one all the time. Sometimes I need someone to be strong for me–to just take care of me. It’s a luxury I don’t get and sometimes I doubt I will.
So if I could go back, if I could change one thing. It would be a chance to just talk to you one more time. I would give anything to have that conversation we were supposed to have when we saw each other again.
I miss you
So I laid in bed with tears streaming down my face, suddenly unable to sleep. I need to get this out. My weak moment, put to rest, until it seeps out again. I’m know, realistically, I’m not alone. I have my two sons and I have my brothers. I love them, I do, but I’m still the one everyone leans on. I can’t fall apart too often or we’d all be a mess 🙂
If you’re reading this don’t feel sorry for me. I’m good. I’m alive and I’m making choices each day that I’m proud of. What I am suggesting is don’t look back. You can’t change the past. Live for today and maybe one day you will wake up and it won’t matter if you can change something from your past. You’ll be in a place, the one spot, you’ve never been happier in and wouldn’t want anything to be different.