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


Brenda said...


My heart aches for you. I know there is nothing anyone, me included, can say that can take your feelings of regret away. My thoughts will be with you this whole year as you work through your grief. Love to you.

Kiwi Ellen said...

Oh Jeanette, your pain touches my soul - I admire your strength & as a Mother who has also buried one of her sons, I can only say it will get better.. Your page is beautiful in its quiet sadness..

Tracey N. said...

I dont think there is a person aliove who doesnt have regrets when they lose a loved-one. Thats part of what makes us human. I think you are doing an amazing thing by journaling you most personal thoughts and feelings. Its very courageous of you. I hope you can find pece in some small measure. I know after losing my Father last year (we knew he was dying of cancer) even though I knew I would lose him, I still have regrets, things I wished I could have done different, things I wish I would have said while he was still here in both body and mind. I think no matter what the circumstances, humans will always have regret. We arent perfect! God Bless you and give you peace. BTW - lovely work! I like the stark, muted colors you used.

KV said...

You will be in my thoughts all through this day, Jeanette.

Kathy V in NM

heidibeads said...

You're in my prayers. Wish I could do something to take away the pain. Your page is very thought provoking for me, too.

Denise said...

What a beautiful page. I admire the way you are working through this. On the days when maybe you are feeling a little less, re-read what you wrote, it's very heart filling.
Thanks for sharing this, and I hope the rest of the year is as beautiful.

Julie said...

You are doing so well. Im proud of you that you are able to structure your time to do this project. I bet that helps somehow. Keep writing so you dont get lost in a tunnel of your own thoughts. Our thoughts can be dangerous sometime. Julie C

Marty S said...

You express such profound and universal emotions. My heart goes out to you and I wish you comfort as you work through the grief process.
Marty S
Crackpot Beader

abeadlady said...

I have called what you are going through right now the "if only's". They may last for a while and may come back several times. You seem to be tackling this in a productive way. I didn't do that for many years. Thank goodness I can do it now. It does help me to use those feelings in a positive way. Bless you. You are in my prayers.


pam T said...

I ache for you and wish to help you shed some tears and feelings.
Your page is beautiful and I hope that you can gain perspective over your "if onlys"....
I believe that life is and things are and things work out the way they are supposed to. Small comfort for the ones left behind, but know that there is a reason for it, and that reason is not to give you pain.

Robin said...

Yes, Jeanette, I understand these regrets and wishes. May your quiet and respectful verbal and visual acceptance of regret open the door to a place where you can again begin to bloom.

Love, Robin A.

flyingbeader said...

Jeannete, I've just come to read your post about January & the soul searching BJP piece you've made. Regret is with us with each step that we have made. If only we all had that magic wand to take all that pain away, but alas we don't. I wish so many times that I had taken my Father for that walk in the woods he so much wanted to do with me & my brother. I wish I had played one more board game with my Grandfather. I wish I had give my wee dog one more play time. I'm filled with regrets for many things. It pains me, but I see through your posting that I'm not alone. Bless you for sharing.