I’m Sorry

This is a message that I want to release into the world, as I would release a feather into the wind.

I’m sorry, mom, for the way that I acted when I found out you were sick.  I’m sorry for questioning whether to come home, even though I did come home.  I’m sorry for thinking that my life out in California was preferable to being there for you when you needed me.  I’m sorry for not always treating you with the highest level of respect when you were struggling to survive.  I’m sorry for not understanding what you were going through, how scared you were, or how much your terminal illness made you regret all the things in life that you were going to miss.

I’m sorry for being always casually optimistic, rather than realistically empathetic.  I’m sorry for not reassuring you when you felt unsure.  I’m sorry for not taking advantage of every single second, and instead wasting time blocking out reality and feeling sorry for myself.  I’m sorry for all of the missed opportunities over my whole life, and any time that I acted as though I didn’t love you as much as I do.

I’m sorry that we only had 23 years together, instead of the 50 we deserved.  I’m sorry that even though you quit smoking for me, it was lung cancer that killed you.  I’m sorry we ever thought radiation was a good idea, because it caused you so much pain in the last months of your life.  I’m sorry that I kept trying make you eat and drink when your throat was effectively sunburned.  I was worried about you, but I didn’t understand what would make you feel better.

I’m sorry for every time I didn’t answer your phone calls over the years.  I’m particularly sorry for those 2 days you couldn’t reach me after your diagnosis.  I know it was unintentional on my part, but that doesn’t make it okay.  I’m sorry I was a frustrating daughter sometimes.  I’m sorry for not making life easier for you, when it was certainly within my power to do more than I did.

I’m sorry for being selfish.  I’m sorry for not always putting family first.  I’m sorry I sometimes valued my stuff more than spending time with you.  I’m sorry for being moody, misunderstood, and generally immature.  I’m sorry that it took your death to give me some of the perspective and the maturity I had previously lacked.

I’m sorry for being careless with my ambitions, my actions, and my time.  Over the years we had together, there is very little I regret more than all the time we didn’t spend together.  I’m sorry for not always listening to your advice.  I’m sorry for resting on my laurels and not being the best that I could be.  I’m sorry for ever settling, for thinking that something was “good enough” when it could have been great.

I’m sorry for all the sunrises and sunsets you’ll miss.  I’m sorry for all of the people you left here, because there were so many that loved you and that are worse off without you.  I’m sorry for the jokes you won’t hear and the movies you won’t see.  I’m sorry that for the rest of my life, I won’t get to share any of those experiences with you.

I’m sorry that I won’t always remember what you taught me.  I’m sorry that I won’t always act as you would have advised me to act.  I’m sorry that I’ll keep growing up, and one day start a family, and that you won’t be part of it.  I’m sorry that I may forget some of the stories you told, and not be able to tell them to my children.  I’m sorry that I’ll have to go through life without you.

I’m sorry that this year I’ve been broken, and unable to fully take care of myself.  And I’m almost sorry that I’m getting better, although that’s not fair to either of us.  I know that you’d want me to get better and be whole again, but it feels like by doing so, I’ll keep losing you.  I’ll never be quite whole again, but I know that I’ll learn to be okay in my new normal.

I’m sorry that each day that goes by means one more day has passed since the last time I got to tell you that I loved you.  I hope, somehow, you still know.

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