No Do Overs

For better understanding you may want to read About This Blog first.

The last time I saw Aaron we had a disagreement. It wasn’t an argument, no one getting angry just a normal garden variety unresolved difference of opinion that sent each of us on our separate ways feeling uneasy. I watched Aaron walk away and I couldn’t help but feel he left somewhat discouraged. I know I was.

I never spoke to him again and one week later he took his life.

I don’t believe for one moment that this little misunderstanding between us had anything to do with him committing suicide. I have no doubts about that.

I tried my hardest to recreate that day over and over again trying to convince myself that the conversation we had ended differently. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.

In the days, weeks and months that followed that last memory and conversation with Aaron has haunted me. I just wanted to make things right, to know in my heart that me and Aaron were good, no bad feelings between us. But there are no do overs in life where there is death.

Growing up, Aaron and I had the normal father son relationship that you find in large families. He was one of the clan, no special attention (except as a baby) and not much personal one on one time. When he was  of age and  left home he spent a lot of time overseas, so much of our contact was via letter writing.

When he returned from living overseas, being away quite a few years, I had to get to know a completely different man. He was wanting to start his life over, settle down and look toward a career.

Considering his options he expressed his desire to study law and become a defense lawyer or  a policeman. Now thats an oxymoron if there ever was one.

We did have one thing in common that was special to both of us. We loved sports, playing it and following it.

Aaron took everything very seriously and was quite intense so I knew how to get under his skin. When watching or talking sport I always took the opposing side. I loved seeing him getting riled up. On one occasion when we were watching the Rugby World cup he was such a patriotic fan, Go Aussies.

I said to him, “you know, Australia is my second favorite team in this world cup.

“Who’s the first” he asked.

“All the other teams” I told him.

He was fuming. He called me unpatriotic.

We also knew when to stop if we were barracking for different teams. An unwritten rule we had, nothing said after winning or losing. We could each walk away with some pride and no hard feelings. That was important to both of us. If we crossed the line, a simple hug and an “I love you” was suffice to make things right.

Revisiting that  last conversation and meeting with Aaron I know I could never take it  back or do anything to make it right. Eventually it did  become a turning point in how I began to view each “last” conversation with all of my children.

If there  any misunderstandings, bad feelings, harsh words, negative body language or anything that caused tension at the end of any exchange with any of my children no matter how old or how far away they lived, I made every effort to make it a priority to get things right, ASAP.

I would usually call, text or email my apologies, say I was sorry for how we ended our last encounter and try to move on. I’m so thankful my kids understand me and are always quick to forgive. Even if it wasn’t my fault. Ha

Of course this parenting technique is probably not the best example to follow but it has worked for me.

It’s not a permanent solution but I am completely happy with band-aid tactics until I am comfortable with knowing that not every disagreement and argument is going to lead to someone going over the edge.

But it does leave me with a peaceful feeling knowing me and my kids are good.

 

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7 responses

  1. I think it’s the best parenting advice you could ever give anyone! Make up with your loved ones. Even if it doesn’t push them over the edge, you never know what’s gonna happen next, and you don’t want them to die without knowing that they were loved, that they were important enough for you to put your ego aside and apologize. So yes, the best life advice…real advice…from someone who’s experienced “no do overs”. Thanks. I am gonna reblog this.

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  2. Reblogged this on From Outside The Mall and commented:
    I am starting a new series of weekly reblogs on Mondays. This week, I am posting Sammy’s blog. Sammy lost his son to suicide in 2008. This post is about the last conversation he had with his son. Great life advice. I am currently obsessed with this blog. His simplicity and insight speak to me and teach me so much about the nuances of loss and grief. Thank you for reading.

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  3. Superb … What a treat to my soul !

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    1. What a great compliment. Thank you

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  4. Excellent post. It is good that you have memories of father/son time albeit not exactly what you wanted it to be….it was shared time…guy time. I liked your unwritten rule about walking away without gloating over whose team won. Aaron was blessed to have a dad who could say, “I love you” and do the hug thing.

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  5. Ha. Yeah, I’m the hugger in the family.

    Liked by 1 person

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