Friday, December 12, 2008

Don’t Focus on the Past, Focus on the Future...

During my travels this week, I had the sad occasion to speak to someone whom had just lost their eighty year old mother tragically and unexpectedly over the weekend in a structure fire.

To make matters worse it’s just weeks prior to Christmas. A death during the Holidays always seems to increase the emotional trauma associated with death. It also takes a joyous season and oftentimes turns it into a season anticipated grief year after year.

As I said, she was eighty years old but as I learned more about the vivacious life of this lady I also learned that she was a sixty year old trapped in an eighty year old body. She was very active in church, community and still worked a part-time job. She was well respected as a retired educator, friend to many and never met a stranger.

Although I did not know her or her son personally I just happened to be where this event had just unfolded and he was quite willing to talk opening about the raw emotions he was feeling. As always, I did a great deal of listening as her son spoke of his mother and her life accomplishments.

The trembling and inflection in his voice was full of pride while speaking of his mother’s life accomplishments and kind spirited nature. After sharing with me a brief biography of his mother, there was one comment that made an impression on me that I have heard many times.

He said “I only wish that I could go back, do thing different and share more time with my mother and tell her some things I needed to tell her but I realize it was too late for that.” Maybe he should have called more he noted and he only lived twenty minutes from her home but seen her only on a monthly basis at best due to a heavy work and life schedule.

In my experiences working in funeral service, dealing with grief head-on, I have heard these same comments numerous times. “If only I had spent more time with my loved one.” This is a feeling of remorse and oftentimes an unjustified feeling of remorse that we as humans go through. It is painful but natural.

In most everything we do, oftentimes we have excellent hindsight vision and wish we could have only done things a little different, better or more timely. This emotion is one that only we can work through and realize that in many cases we could not have done anything different. But in some instances we possibly could have done things different and just didn’t.

I believe that we all have the innate ability to direct our lives be it good or bad, a failure or success. Let’s learn from our mistakes or hindsight vision and let’s not let it dictate our future in a negative manor but dictate or direct our future and our paths in a positive way. A manor in which we learn and do things different with others in our lives instead of letting things we should have, could have, would have done torment our minds and make us unhappy individuals.

Forrest Gump said it best “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” But I feel you can take that random piece of chocolate even if it does not taste very good and allow it to help you choose a more desirable piece.

In conclusion, let’s take the negatives in our lives and direct them into positives, don’t focus on the past, focus on the future and most of all take the time to share time, a laugh or positive comments with loved ones and friends.

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