Friday, July 27, 2012

Death Talk: Regrets

I think regrets get a bad name. I often hear people say that they have no regrets, and that if they could go back in time, they wouldn't change a thing because their past made them who they are now.

I don't agree with that. There are a lot of things I would like to change in my life, and if I could go back in time I would try to change them. As a result, I would be better/happier than I am now because I could have learned things the easy way.

Regret is a tool. It goes along with guilt to help us recognize mistakes and motivate us not to make them again (and fix them if possible). It only becomes a problem when we can't learn from them and move on with life. Some people poison the rest of their lives by holding onto regret/guilt etc. instead of learning from it and letting go.

I have found for me that prayer and relying on my relationship with the Savior and Heavenly Father has really helped me let go of these feelings and move forward with a positive outlook on life.

Here are some regrets I have from my time with Peter that I will learn from and remember moving forward. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes as well so you don't have to make them yourself- or at least consider them if you are ever faced with similar choices and make the decision that is right for you with this additional information.

1. Funeral- For Peter's funeral we had a viewing an hour before the service started. The open casket was set up in the overflow area between the chapel and cultural hall. We stood a few feet away from his casket to meet people as they came in to see him. My regret is standing in the viewing area itself. Some people would have liked to come up to us and talk to us, but were uncomfortable seeing his body, so as a result they didn't get to talk to us at all because we were in there the whole time.

Next time: I would stand in the foyer right outside the door to the viewing area, so that people can come up to us and talk without having to go see his body if they didn't want to.

2. Funeral- After the funeral service at the church we left and had a private graveside service and grave dedication and watched his body being lowered into the ground. I had decided beforehand that I didn't want to go back to the church to socialize and have a luncheon, so then we just went home after the burial.

I have mixed feelings here. At the time I didn't know how long I would want to stay at Peter's grave site and I didn't know if I would want to talk to anybody after the funeral and burial. I think it was smart (for us) the way we did it, but I do regret not being able to visit with some of the people who got to the funeral right as it started (we were already seated in the front) or who were not comfortable coming into the viewing area.

Next time: Not sure- maybe the solution was already stated earlier by standing in the foyer to visit before the service instead of the viewing room where not everyone was comfortable. Also, maybe I would go back and have a lunch afterwards in order to visit. It's hard to say. I don't know the solution to this one, but it is something to consider.

Another idea I have considered is to have a memorial on Peter's birthday and invite friends, family and nurses, etc. to our home and remember his life and have the opportunity to visit and talk about him and celebrate his life and memory. I think that would be nice. We will see.

3. Lock of hair- I regret not getting a lock of Peter's hair. His hair was so short I'm not sure if it was really possible to cut some, but I wish I had some looking back on it now. It would be so nice to have a little bit of him still. Clothing, stuffed animals, and/or jewelry from the person is nice, but I really wish I had a little bit of him too, to put in a locket.

Next time: Don't be shy. Ask the funeral home to cut a lock of hair for you- they all do it. Just ask.

4. Home- I regret having Peter's bed in our bedroom the first week he was home and while my dad was still here to enjoy him. Once we moved Peter's bed into the living room he was much more involved in our every day activities instead of sleeping peacefully all day and night in another room. It was also nice for me to be in the living room visiting instead of having people come back into our room, or me just being alone in the back while guests were in the kitchen or living room.

Next time: Make the living room his room- incorporate him into our active lives.

5. Video- I took a ton of pictures of Peter, but I wish I would have taken more video clips. Especially at the end when he was so sick. I don't know why, but I wish I could go back and remember what he sounded like near the end- even though it was awful and made me cry even then, (and made me pray to Heavenly Father to release him from his pain) I wish I could remember and see that time with him again.

Next time: Take video of all the times and moments, not just the pretty or good ones.

6. Pictures- I wish I had taken pictures of all the people that had the chance to visit and meet Peter. I have a few pictures of friends holding Peter, but I wish I had taken a picture of everyone who had the chance to hold him. It would be nice for me, and several people have told me that they also wish they had a picture of themselves holding him too. I especially wish I had a picture of our Hospice nurse holding Peter. She was such an important person to us and impacted our lives so much. I wish I had a picture of them together.

Next time: Even more pictures!

This is the night before Peter died. This picture makes me cry, but I am so glad I took it and have it now to look back on. 

Anything you would add to this list from your experiences?


  1. I remember you posting that last picture, I think. I love the relationship it shows between these two men in your life. How wonderful that relationship and how nice to have this picture!

    1. I agree, Laura! It's comforting to know that Peter died in his dad's arms feeling warm and loved.

  2. I have a video of him a few hours before he passed away that I took with my phone just FYI.

    1. Send it to me, please! Thanks, Boydie!

  3. The only thing I can think of is after the funeral, perhaps hours or days, or even months later, to have a celebration like you suggested. That thought popped into my head and then as I scrolled down I saw you had similar thoughts. You don't know how long you'll need at the gravesite and you don't know how much talking you'll be able to handle so I think it's wise to, perhaps, delay it.

    I need to remember to take more pictures. Thank you for the reminder. I'm glad of the few I do have of Peter and would have so many regrets of not having more pictures if I were to lose a child....and here I am not taking pictures. Or videos. I'm grateful for the things I learn from you.


Don't be shy, comment!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...