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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

This week is turning out to be a little difficult for me. I recently learned that someone I knew many years ago passed away. I have not spoken to him for years, but I should have. A part of me realized that the relationship deserved attention but it would have been difficult to do so. Things passed between us that made it uncomfortable for me to be around him. I know that I owed him more than a cursory “We’ll keep in touch.” But, I never got around to making it happen.

Oh, I made a few attempts, some more serious than others, to find him and reconnect but life always got in the way. It seemed unimportant. It was uncomfortable to consider. I didn’t want to take that risk. It was easier just to keep things the way they were. I was sure there would be time and opportunity to set things right someday. Now there are no more somedays for me to count on.

I learned from his family that he felt almost the same way. He wanted to continue our relationship; our parting was hurtful for him as well. Probably more so than for me. He thought about trying to find me, but he didn’t want to rock the boat. He didn’t want to bring back bad feelings instead of taking the chance that we could erase them and start over.

There are things I should have said to him, “I’m sorry” being one of them. I was too scared and too comfortable in my life to say them. I wonder if at the time of his passing he looked down to check on me and realized that I still harbored my own sense of self-righteousness toward him. I still wanted to blame him and only him, even though I knew full well the blame was not his alone. It’s not easy to look in the mirror and realize there should have been repentance and restitution long ago. I thought I was doing the right thing by just letting it go and trying to leave it in the past. I was still counting on someday and dreading the very thought of it in the same moment.

Not that too late repentance is the best way to go about things, but I hope he checks back and realizes I really was sorry. I just didn’t know how to say it or what to do about it. I was too scared of being hurt again. Yes, I had scars that weren’t easy to heal but I forgot that while I was going on with my life, he was too. Only maybe, just maybe, his scars weren’t healing at all. My choices cost him happiness he could have had. Do I know that for sure? I can’t. I made a different choice and that is the path of consequences I now walk. I do know that it’s taught me that there are some things that just shouldn’t be put off, no matter how difficult they may be.

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