I often wonder about people’s conduct towards their parents — especially now since both of mine are no longer in this world. I often think of the time I have missed being a better daughter, a better friend to both of them. And I regret it very much. Living with regrets such as these are terrible. Every now and then, I find myself becoming angry at myself for being so selfish. But the past is water under the bridge. I cannot bring it back. I can only move forward and try to be a better person.
That said, I am worried that so many children are sending their ailing parents to the house for the elderly so that they can carry on with their busy schedule of fun and work and not bother about their parents. I wonder if it has something to do with sending our children to school and leaving them there in the care of teachers who are really strangers, in the beginning. After all, we leave our children there, crying and wailing, and we’re told to harden our heart and not hear the wails and pleas of our children. Could it be that somewhere, along the way, we have given our children the wrong instruction when it comes to caring for one another?
Honestly speaking, I could not leave my kids at school to fend for themselves until they tell me they are ready. I spent six months sitting outside the kindergarten so that my son could see me while he learned his ABCs. I did the same for his sister and his younger brother, but both of them seem to enjoy the company of their new found friends and quickly told me it was alright for me to go and work once I sent them to school.
I also found a very strong attachment to my parents — even as I got older. I love their company. I could never have enough of their company. I wish I spent more time with them before their time in this world ended. But one would never know when that time would come. It comes sooner for some, and later for others. So, whatever it is, I like playing by one rule — to try to be kind to everyone, particularly ones loved ones such as our parents, our grandparents, our children, our nephews and nieces, our siblings. After all, we never know when we or they will be taken.
I’ve lived with regrets since my nephew died in an accident, for example. I wish I was a better aunt to him. I hated the way he drove, but he was such a sweet boy. In my mind, I am always thinking of the ‘if only’ — such as ‘if only I was a better aunt, would I have made him lived longer? Help him avoid his accident?’ I would never know. Sometimes, we see things coming and it is sad when our advice, or rather, berating, falls on deaf ears. I regret that I berated him. More importantly, I regret that I didn’t really sit down and listen to him, as I did my other nephew.
Now, I am trying to live a life and be kind to others so that I will have less things to regret about. I don’t think I will regret not getting my PhD, nor not getting a five-figure job. I don’t think I will regret being poor all my life. I don’t think I will regret not getting a promotion. But if I were unkind to others, I know that I will regret it. Sooner or later, it will dawn on me how unkind I have been, and I will surely regret it. I just hope that when that time comes, I will be able to say sorry to the person I have been a jerk to.