Monday, January 19, 2009


This month in the grieving process, I take on regrets. Hopefully, voicing the regrets will allow me to let them go. At the time of my husband's and son's deaths, I was at least a 1,000 miles away. Yet, I suppose it's human nature to believe it was still possible to do something that would have changed the final outcome. Some of my many regrets include the following:

1. "If only I had accompanied my husband Gordon home for his routine medical procedure." But he had had the procedure a half a dozen times before and I had to stay behind to do the job on the cruise ship. We both loved that job and wanted to finish the season together upon his return after a week.

2. "I wish our farewell had been more than a quick peck as Gordon left the ship." I remember thinking as I watched him quickly leave with the ship's agent, "Wow, that wasn't much of a good-bye kiss; what if I never see him again? Oh, don't be silly, he'll be back in a week."

3. "If only I could have found the right words to console my son Donnavon as I talked with him on the phone about his father's death." I tried. So did at least a dozen others, but apparently none of us had the magic words that he needed to hear.

4. "I wish I could have gotten off the ship and home faster; maybe that would have made a difference with my son." The ship was in the middle of the ocean when I received word of my husband's death. I made plans with my son Donnavon for him to pick me up at the airport when I arrived home the next day. As I waited in the airport for the plane, I called Donnavon to tell him the exact time of my arrival, only to be told by an EMT that Donnavon was dead.

5. "I regret that Donnavon's two kids now must grow up without a father and a grandfather." They miss them so much, as we all do.

My square includes some stars to remind that I am not an omniscient being, only a mere human. My husband always accepted and said, "When my number is up, it's up." As the one still holding a number, I must accept that the trick to life is weathering the storms and learning to dance in the wind & rain.

Jeanette Shanigan