The rules I chose to break; the instructions I should have followed; the higher education I could have pursued; the job I didn’t accept; the man I might have married; the life-style changes I could have made; the money I should have saved; the wiser parenting I should have done—periodically all these thoughts, and many more of the same ilk, wend through my mind. However, in each instance and at the time, I chose to do what seemed right.
It’s easy to think “it” might have been so much better if only life had given us a break (or a hint!) now and then or if only we’d known how “it” would eventually turn out.
Of course, that’s entirely a case of ruminating over personal choices in the past and often thinking the outcomes would have been oh, so much better, happier, easier, nicer, more comfortable if we’d chosen a different path.
Admittedly, the majority of these thoughts of mine are egocentric and selfish. In truth, I have no reason to believe my own life would have been any better had I made different choices; it might have been vastly disappointing.
I’ve been thinking of three sets of friends who (and this is fact) have each lost a child within the past year. For the most part, these adult children exuded creativity, enthusiasm for life and love of family as well as intellectual and physical stamina.
Grieving family and friends have every reason to harbor thoughts of “it might have been,” and “if only….” I certainly don’t consider these thoughts selfish or self-centered (in the way I view my own).
I imagine loved ones dwelling on potentials never met, roads never traveled and their own arms ever-aching for a hug, if only…
For all sad words of tongue and pen,
The saddest are these, 'It might have been'
~John Greenleaf Whittier
In the case of my friends and their losses, the words, “it might have been” are truly sad, anguished and haunting.