Between life and death there is a library,’ she said. ‘And within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything differently, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’MATT HAIG “THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY”
I recently read this book by Matt Haig “The Midnight Library”. I thought the book could have been short and could have just got to the point already. But it had me thinking about my own regrets in life and how I dwell in them and they become my identity.
Biggest regret is moving to Trinidad I tell myself. I can’t wrap my head around it. I was basically homeless in Florida. Before my divorce, I was a stay-at-home mom/wife. I had no source of income and when your husband tells you I want him (our son), your body aches, and your soul is crushed. They should have just killed me then and there on the spot I tell myself.
I was left with a situation where I had to put my son first and think really fucking fast as to what I was going to do. Legal Aid told me I stood no chance win any case trying to take my son away from Florida and I have no job. So I said, “Okay, you have him, you take care of, but please don’t ever keep him away from me”.
My son slept with me on the same bed from the time he was born. If he was sick I stayed right by the bed and watched his tiny hands and tiny facial features and often wondered “how did I get so lucky”.
The flight was booked and I left with a part of me missing, a part of my soul, and wondered at that moment and this one “what did I do so wrong in life to deserve such pain?”
I wasn’t a bad mom, I read the books, I cooked, I cleaned, I loved him with my whole soul and heart. I wasn’t on drugs, so what was it, GOD?.. Still no answer to this day.
He’s 13 now and it’s been 9 years since that regret. Not a day passes me by that I don’t wonder what if. He’s doing great in school, he has a wonderful stepmom and his dad had another child so he gained a sister, he’s into soccer, he’s well mannered, he’s happy as any 13-year-old boy can be.
But why does it hurt so so so much ?.
I often get told, “He’s good, don’t worry he’ll get big one day and come back to you”.
People don’t understand that while he grows into an adult I will still have to be distant, I have to let him grow into the man he wants and I can’t just be the overbearing mother who is making up for lost times. That the thing with time, we don’t ever get it back.
I cry about all the things I have missed out, First days of school, school plays, soccer games, being there when he’s ill, watching tv, going on mother-son dates like we use to when he was a toddler, his first heartbreak, or the simple things like watching him sleep for a straight two mins as if I am lost in space because I have never in my life smelled and looked at a human so beautiful. “morning sunshine, rise, and shine, time to get up my love” He would make a noise that tells me “I am not ready to wake up just yet”, then the smile comes on his face with a soothing “Mommmmyy”. as he ends his “y” in mummy he smiles. Like he gives my soul a gentle hug and reminder of how important I am to him and that we are bonded for life.
I’ll always grieve this part of my life, I’ll always wonder what If. It’s just one regret I just can’t seem to shake. I wish I could tell myself in time or years from now when he’s all grown I would feel better. But the truth is that will never happen. It’s a pain I have to learn to live with. I use his love today as my driving force to become a better woman, a better mom, a better friend, a better sister, a better daughter.
I do get to see him, sometimes he visits and I go to visit him. Our family tradition is to meet up in Toronto for the Holidays. Due to COVID, it’s been 1 year and 7 months since I have seen him. We speak at least once a week and he’s everything and more than I could have ever prayed for.
My son gave me compassion. When you walk around with a part of you missing and constant pain in your heart, you soften up. You look at mothers differently, you look at the world differently. Because if I can be in so much pain on the inside and no one knows, who else has just passed me by with pieces of themselves missing too.
“to my son, I love you to the moon and back. Distant might be our thing just for now, just for a little while longer. The next time I see you, just hold me for now and just a little while longer”.Melissa