The news came at the end of the day. It was a good day, as far as days go for me. It wasn’t expected, though I’ve feared it for some time.
“She isn’t doing well,” the words told me. “She may not last the month.”
Fifteen years. That is what I have been thinking.
My husband asked, “are you thinking of flying out there?”
I wasn’t thinking of anything, I told him – but it is not what I meant. The words wouldn’t come.
Fifteen years. I could have had fifteen years more with her if I hadn’t been so stupid. I am supposed to go back now? At the end of all things? How will that help her now?
I have no job. No money. She is so far away, and it’s my fault. And I hate myself for it.
I really do hate myself for that decision that took me away so long ago. And it is all good and fine (and even true) to say that I wouldn’t have met my husband… my lost children… all the experience that came from moving here – but I wouldn’t have known that. I wouldn’t have missed them from that end.
But here I am, fifteen years later, and my Grandma is dying. And it hurts! It hurts so bad I cannot express it. Not even so much because I can’t get there now – but more that I can’t get back to then.
I miss my Grandma. I miss my Mom, and my brother(s), and my aunts and uncles and cousins…
And what is true for her, is really true for all of them. I’ve lost fifteen years with them, and maybe forever more, and it breaks me, and it’s my fault!
And I want to bang my head against a wall, again and again… so stupid! How could I have been so stupid?
I ran. All those days ago, I ran, and I lost them all… But I ran, because I felt like a failure – and now on this end of it, it seems so much the same.
I can see a great big, red, letter F with a circle around it on my forehead, for all the world to know.
A failure for staying, a failure for running, a failure for not being able to get back… and I can’t go back. I know that.
If I could go back, I could fix it all, maybe, but I can’t go back, and so have to live with those decisions I made all those years ago, and now she may be dying – and what can I do?
I want those years back – all those years. Not because they were good – they weren’t – but because I need to do better. I want to do better. I have to do better – and not lose all those… I lost everything.
I am sure some good things came – my husband, my dog, my faith – of moving here, but that doesn’t take away what was lost, and what was lost comes to me tonight, and breaks me.
Fifteen years. I can’t even express it. I can only weep, alone in this room, knowing once more that what was lost is not coming back, and I am full of pain and regret over it.