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Death and Grieving Coping with loss is difficult at any age, but you are not alone during this difficult time. Reach out to other users in this forum.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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My Biggest Regret (long) - February 21st 2010, 06:02 AM

This is a long post. And it might sound glorified or something dumb like that. But I really need to get this off of my chest. By the end of this, this will be under 'Death and grieving' but I gotta tell you everything do that you understand my regrets.

Let's start from the beginning.

When I was 12 my parents told me that they were getting a divorce. Automatically I was going to go live with my Mom in her home town- where my grandparents live and a lot of aunts and uncles. I was too shell shocked to comprehend my future in a new town.

Maybe it's harsh to say this, but I feel like my Dad decided to take the advantage and start putting ideas into my head while I was still blank on the whole situation. He started telling me that it was Mom's fault for the divorce. For not listening to him, for not trying hard enough, for not getting a job, for not doing a lot of things. He started telling me about all of her bad habits and stuff.

And being the blank sheet I was on the situation, I believe him. So I told Mom that I wanted to live with Dad. Mom didn't like that.

So starts this lengthy custody battle that went on for 2 or 3 years with little to no progress.

Before we moved to the new town my Grandma (Mom's side) would come down and help Mom emotionally and try to help us get ready to move. I think I was already mad at Mom (home life had gotten tense) for being the lazy person I thought she was. So I felt like she was in my face all the time. Not to mention having to move from the house I had lived in for 13 years was stressful.

Grandma kept coming over...a lot. It felt like I didn't have a weekend to myself without having her or Papa or someone over. Which was also stressful. So bit by bit, I started getting angry with Grandma.

When court meetings about custody came up things got ugly. We had grandparents come into the scene. Which I felt like my Grandma and Papa shouldn't have even set foot in the court room to voice who they thought I should live with *coughmomcough* Because my Dad pretty much did it by himself (I think)

Of course the court kept siding with Mom- not officially saying who I would live with, but putting everything off until a later date.

And again, Dad decides to plant thoughts in my head. "You're Grandparents have deep pockets. I'm sure they paid their way through some of it and said all sorts of bad things about me." I became furious. I started to adopt the attitude of a cold hearted person. I glared a lot. I got mad easily. I can't tell you home many times I flew off the handle with Mom.

When Grandma saw my behavior- she thought she ought to talk to me about it...not so sure if that was a good idea or not. Because being the mean person I had become, I didn't want to talk to someone who had only infuriated me. But it wasn't just the whole court thing. I felt as though everyone was in my face about something. I felt suffocated. So she decides to 'get up in my face' about my behavior.

The conversation starts off calm. But somewhere or another she accuses me of detesting my family. That pissed me off. 1. No one could possibly understand what I was going through. Not many people on that side of the family divorced. 2. I didn't, by any means, hate anyone. I was mad, sure. But I still loved them.

Arguments rose up. We started yelling and growling. I started crying. She asked me in the weirdest tone, "What do you think about me?"

Now. What I did say was wrong, but she pretty much just added fuel to the fire by asking me that. I was 13, made, and emotionally unstable. "I think you're rude, childish, and selfish!"

I don't remember much after that one particular fight. But I went inside and hid under the covers. She tried to come in and asked me if I wanted to go shopping with her because she didn't want me to stay mad. I was too far gone in my anger. So I just quietly told her no. She left.

We had a lot more fights similar to that one.

I don't want to get into all of them. But things got better. We moved into a better house. I was making good friends at school. I was seeing a counselor who graciously listened to me bitch and whine about every little thing. She reasoned with me and agreed with some things and disagreed with others. And she even agreed with me that one of the main reasons Mom and I weren't getting along was because Grandma was around waaay too much.

But things didn't really start to get better until my freshman year. Grandma started getting sick. Not really sick. But she had frequent BM's a lot, so she stayed home. She didn't come over to baby sit me anymore and I didn't have to go over to her house anymore. So we had time apart. I was allowed to stay home alone and have time to myself.

Things just really started picking up. I made friends, got confidence, and learned a lot.

Mom and I started to get along again. But I didn't realize a lot of things until my Sophmore year. I realized that my Dad had tried to take advantage of the situation and tried to put thoughts in my head. I learned that you have to make your own decisions and examine people from every perspective. So no more listening to Dad until I've seen it first hand from my own thoughts. I realized how rude and childish I had been. I didn't take anyone else's feelings into consideration becaue I saw them as 'evil' and 'uncaring'

So now, we're closer to the present. I was getting along with everyone again. Dad lost his job so I got to stay with Mom- which I wanted by the time, because I had wonderful friends and a comfortable relationship with family.

Sometimes I'd go over to Grandma and Papa's and eat dinner with them. We'd talk and laugh and have a good time.

For some reason it never truly occured to me to apologize to Grandma for all of the things I did and said. But I guess I thought I had all of the time in the world.

The summer before my Junior year, Grandma's health took a turn for the worst. She had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. It was a shock. They had scanned her for cancer before. But found none. They only found it when they went in to put a stint in her liver. Everyone was shocked.

It must have been August or September when I just had to tell her that I was sorry. I couldn't keep it to myself anymore. I told her and she just said, "Oh sweetheart. Grandma knows that you were going through a rough time. It's okay." I wanted to cry. It felt like a weight had been lifted off my chest. She didn't hold it against me. Or think poorly of me anymore. I was forgiven.

Her condition only worsened through the following months. Around Christmas time we all huddled around her bed and each said a prayer. It was terminal now. She might not make it to New Years. We all held hands and said what we needed to say, "I've learned that throughout life we learned lessons and teach lessons. I out of all people should know that. I've made a lot of mistakes. But I can learn from them. And Grandma, I'm glad that you were able to teach me so many things. And I love you." that was my prayer.

Later on, My uncle came down stairs and called me into the living room. He started the conversation off with a painting on the wall. Saying that my Great grandma had painted it and that I must have gotten my artistic talent from her. Somewhere in the conversation he brought up my prayer, "That stuff you said about making mistakes- we all make mistakes. You're just a kid, you shouldn't worry about it. Mistakes don't define who we are." I wanted to cry again. It felt like I had been forgiven yet again by another person who had witnessed my bad behavior.

Grandma passed away January 8, 2010.

For the months that had proceided her death, I had prepared myself. Telling myself that I wouldn't regret anything. Knowing that I had visited her enough and apologized. I thought I could handle everything.

I've done okay. It's been hard. but I think we're all okay. However...I can't shake the regret I feel. I hate how I acted towards her. Why did I have to be so cruel? Why did I have to say such horrible things and treat her so badly? Why? It's my biggest regret. And I know that it may not be a regret forever. I think it's part of the grieving process. One day I can put it behind me and say, "That was just a time in your life when things were tough. That time is over now. So now you can move on with a smile on your face."

I've been able to, but only in intervals. I feel guilty, I don't feel guilty. It goes.

And for the longest time I thought I was her least favorite Grandchild. I was so mean after all and I'm not very active in anything. My other cousins had done so much- maybe not academically, but they were in clubs and took classes outside of school. Oh so talented.

The other day, I got a Valentine's Day card from Papa. It said. "You're Grandma and I have always had high expectations for you. We love you very much- Papa"

I know that she loved me. I know that she was proud. I guess it had just been all of the hateful and sad clouds still blocking my view of things- of how they really thought of me. I thought that they didn't expect much. Or if they did they expected something of me that I wasn't willing to give.

Regardless. I still feel very bad about it all. I wish I could roll back the clock. But in the end, I don't think I could have acted any differently. If I went back and tried it all again, I'd still be gullible. I'd still be angry. I'd still cry and glare. There's no way around that. I think I wish...I had more time with her. Maybe just another ten years. That way it could have all been blown over- farther away from the present.

But I know she's gone. She's not in any pain anymore and she's with God now- one of her favorite people. But I still really miss her. I miss her dragging me along to spend hours in a clothing store to look for clothes. I miss her telling me things about God. I miss her smoking her cigarette while we ate breakfast. I miss her correcting my table manners and I miss our talks.

And I just don't really know what to do now. Recovering is slow- that's okay. I just hate this regret.

  (#2 (permalink)) Old
eunoia Offline
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Re: My Biggest Regret (long) - February 24th 2010, 11:03 AM

Forgiveness is a difficult process. The hardest person to forgive will always be yourself. You should know, though, that you and your parents did the best you could. Know that your family, all of them, loves you without fail and without condition; they are proud of you. Know that it is no one's fault that life is full of change.

I, too, used to be angry all the time. I think I actually hated my mother--I wasn't blinded by anger, but I was filled with it. I had realized life wasn't fair, I didn't live in a fairytale, and I felt cheated. I had been lied to. No one told me it would be so hard, and I was only a kid!

I took it out on everyone around me. I was quietly defiant. I never told anyone I hated them, in fact I had resolved myself not to. I knew I still loved them, but I also understood that anger is born from disappointed love. Instead I withdrew. I cried, I screamed, alone. I lashed out with my words in ways that hurt my loved ones. And today, though I do sometimes feel the regret, I know they have forgiven me.

There will be people in your life who love you no matter what. In war we fight our enemies. In love, the very people we fight against are the people we are fighting for, they are the people fighting for us. Because opening up hurts. Forgiving someone is painful, and difficult. Admitting that we, maybe not so long ago, were so sorely mistaken that we hurt someone we cherish is not often easy.

Giving in, in the good ways, doesn't always feel so good. And so we push, and they push back. We struggle together with the people we love, even when it feels as if there are walls between us. And that is why, when in a childish rage we yell and scream, grandma comes back in to ask if we want to go shopping. And that is why, as you grow older, you come to understand that there was no need to be forgiven. It is only you, now, that must forgive yourself.

Try not to beat yourself up, Mariah. It is more than unfair to judge who you are today, based on what you did when you were younger. It is unfair to be angry with yourself, over words spoken in anger so long ago. And it is unnecessary, because the people that love you understand, and they don't hold it against you. It is time. Time to stop holding it against yourself, to carry on and to learn from who you were as a child, as you become a more mature and peaceful self.

It will be harder to forgive yourself for how you behaved with your grandma, because she is not here now to reassure you. Losing someone is complicated enough. It's messy, it's hard, it hurts. The added complication of regret can weigh a person down. But I think you know that it is okay; that your grandma is with you, at peace, and that she doesn't blame you. Work towards believing that.

It's easier said than done, but focus on the good things. The smiles, the laughter. If it helps, make a memory book filled ONLY with good memories of your grandma. When you're feeling overwhelmed by regret, you can pull it out to read. It never hurts to have a concrete reminder of those things easier to forget.

I've rambled on for a bit, and I'm not sure if I have more to say. If I do, I'll come back and add it. If you ever need someone to talk to, please know that you can always send me a PM or VM. I'd love to hear from you. Take good care of yourself, you deserve it.

Someday I will be strong enough to lift not one but both of us.
I told you to be patient
I told you to be fine
I told you to be balanced
I told you to be kind
  (#3 (permalink)) Old
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Re: My Biggest Regret (long) - February 25th 2010, 04:00 AM

Thank you. It means a lot to know that I'm not the only one who has made mistakes. I don't usually like to talk about my mistakes to just anyone- I feel as though it's self-pitying on my part. Though I do talk to some people about it.

I don't like to talk to my Mom too much about it. Mainly because the one time we did, we both cried. I think she felt some regret too, because she didn't tell me more of what was going on during those hard times. I was left in the dark to be influenced by anyone.

I loved my Grandma, I still do. She had flaws, but she was a good person over all. And I guess I just felt kind of bad too, because my cousins all had a very wonderful relationship with Grandma. But I had some bad memories. My cousins knew about how bad I was. They were even told that I wasn't the best person to be around. And when I told them about it (rarely I did) or when they asked me about it, they didn't understand. They usually turned the situation around on me- like there was no reason to be so mad. But they weren't there.

I don't want to regret it. I don't think about it too much either. Because I know I've been forgiven and it's time to move on. But sometimes when I talk about it, it hurts.

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