Oh, how it will eat you alive if you let it. Hindsight is 20/20, right? And ain’t that a bitch.
I have spent the last year thinking back on me and Nate’s lives together, and I literally get sick to my stomach sometimes thinking about moments I would have done differently. The list of things I would have said…should have said…seems endless.
I still see you standing in our garage door in your work clothes, looking so handsome, waving goodbye to me as I pulled out of our driveway to grocery shop that Thursday night on September 28th of last year. I should have gotten out of my car to kiss you goodbye.
I should have taken you up on all of those times you asked me to play cornhole with you, just the two of us watching Ian play, yet I insisted I just wanted to relax and listen to music.
I should have gone with you to the golfing range to try to understand the sport you loved so much.
I should have walked with you through the woods during disc golf to better understand one of your favorite past times.
I should have watched you play more softball games.
I shouldn’t have pestered you over stupid things.
I should have watched you and Ian doing yard work together more fiercely.
I should have taken pictures of your walks to the store with our boy.
I should have filmed more videos of you playing catch with our son, and documented the joy in your face each time Ian hit the ball out of your grasp.
I should have tried harder to make you take more pictures.
I should have been by my phone to answer each time you called me on your way home from work.
I should have saved more of your angry, teasing voicemails for missing another call.
I should have stayed up later with you more often after Ian went to bed, and really appreciated that quality time, just the two of us.
I should have made out with you more often.
I should have told you more often how you kicked ass at being a dad.
I should have told you everyday how freaking hot you were and how incredibly lucky I was to be yours.
I should have watched more “Shameless” episodes with you.
I should have not sweated the small stuff as often and lose my temper over silly things.
I should have thanked you more often for the life you gave Ian and I.
I should have complimented you more.
I should have paused and absorbed the beautiful simplicity of our life more.
I should have prolonged our last night in Las Vegas.
I should have begged you not to go to softball that night.
I should have paid better attention and seen the signs that your heart was sick.
I should have kissed the shit out of you before I went grocery shopping that night.
I should have made it to the emergency room even five minutes earlier.
And many days, I still feel like it should have been me.
After having faced death head on with the sudden loss of my husband, I have begun to wonder if regret is just a part of life or could have I avoided this sickening feeling of wasted time, all together? I have had to face the reality that the would haves and should haves remain because as we got swept away in our everyday lives, we never imagined a day when our everyday lives together would cease to exist. Perhaps then they aren’t regrets, rather combined, the biggest lesson of my life.
Each of us probably have some kind of idea that we aren’t invincible when it comes to bad things happening, but when you get sucked into the day to day routines of work, kids, household tasks, and other day to day activities, that thought of “what if” gets placed on the backburner. As it should…I mean, none of us should live life preparing for the worst. In fact, there are still days when I get caught up in my daily stressors and neglect the motto of not sweating the small stuff that my hubby lived by. But among the millions of different things Nate taught me in both his life and his death, I actively try everyday to stop and smell the roses more and to narrow down that list of “should haves” with each of my loved ones in this life that I have yet to live.
I was never the perfect wife, nor he the perfect husband, but had infinite perfect moments that made us perfect for one another, and I can only pray that he felt the comfort, the joy, the peace, the happiness, the love that our lives together exuded. I hope he knew I loved him with every fiber of my being, and if given the chance, I would do it all over again. Loving him was the best thing that ever happened to me, so yes, I would live every second all over again and choose us every time, even knowing what I know now. I will never regret that night in 2005 when I spotted him standing silently in the corner of our friends apartment throwing pillows at me, nor the incredible 13 years that followed. The should haves may always haunt me, and there are a million things I would have said or done differently had I known me and Nate’s time together would be cut so short…But I didn’t know. He didn’t know. And I have to hope and pray that in his final moments he knew the depth of my love for him. I hope that in our 13 years together, I showed him that he was the most incredible man, father, and husband. I hope that despite my shortcomings and “should haves” that there was never a doubt in my hubby’s mind that he owned my heart…And that my mind, my body, my soul were his and his alone. And that he literally made my dreams come true.