I’ve lived with regret for many years. The decisions I’ve made, the words I’ve spoken, the missed opportunities over the years that I wish could come around again. One thing I’ve not felt at all is regret about how I took care of Dad in his final years.
The day I moved in with him in September 2006, he and I got into a huge argument just a couple of hours after the movers started unloading the van. It was a dumb argument and I thought, “Is this the way it’s going to be?” We had always had a rough relationship and most people were shocked when I took over his care from my sister. She wanted to move on after years of caring for my mother until her death, and then dad for an additional two years.
The first thing I did after I moved into his longtime home was to decide that I was not going to do anything that would cause me to have any regrets when my caregiving time came to an end. At times it was quite a challenge, but most days I followed the Golden Rule of do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I lived that for almost eight years until his recent death.
It wasn’t always easy and it definitely wasn’t always pleasant. He and I still disagreed at times and had a couple of head-to-head, toe-to-toe arguments, but I did what I could to care for him, provided what he needed as best I could, and allowed him the dignity of making his own decisions in the end.
I’m not writing this to brag in any way. I’m definitely not a saint. What I hope readers will get out of this is that we should at least try to live in such a way that when our time of caregiving comes to an end, we can walk away with no regret. Dad passed away a week ago. The past couple of days I’ve felt a freedom that I can now move on with my life. What I’m also feeling is peace in my heart, and no regret.