What is one regret you would carry with you to your grave?
Lisa Gordon, former Restaurateur-Owner/Operator, Retired (1996-2013)
A funeral home director changed my life and it has taken me 6 years to even discuss it. 6 years where every day I have tried to block it from my mind. 6 years of agony over a lost moment that I can never reclaim, and it has changed me and my life forever. more
Lois Hollis Oh my!!! I feel the breaking of your heart and soul. May I suggest something? I suggest writing the funeral home director a letter with all of the feelings that you have gathered over time. You do not have to send it, only write it. Read your letter aloud and see her standing by you and telling you to leave. Then see your son and talk to him as he was there. Talk to him as he is now in Spirit. Tell him what you wanted to tell him. Every time you feel the anger, talk to your son. He will hear you and be graceful you connected to him.
I feel you are angry at yourself for not being strong at that time. But how could you? You lost your precious son. Yes, the funeral director was wrong. She is unimportant. Your son is important, and she needs to carry her own anger. You need to be fee of her and communicate with your son in Spirit. Don’t let shame waste your precious years.
Lisa Gordon Quora Original Author Sept 21 123 upvotes
Lois, that is perhaps the greatest piece of advice I’ve been given since losing my son. I’ve received a million “sorry for your loss”, tons of thoughts and prayers, but no real and practical advice on how to navigate such a tragic and devastating loss. I cannot possibly thank you enough. What amazing insight and creativity you possess. I must follow you now and check out your website as soon as I finish up here. I must thank you again, Lois. I’m incredibly grateful for your comment and advice. Peace and love, Lisa.
More I can still hear the funeral home director, like it was yesterday. I can still hear her voice. I’ll never forget the words she spoke or the tone in which she spoke them. I’ll never forget the feeling that came over me. Every moment is frozen in time, from the temperature in the room, the scent in the air, and the vision of my precious son laying on that cold steel table covered in a dingy blanket. I can still see his face every time I close my eyes.
I couldn’t imagine how the worst moment in my life could possibly get any worse, after all I’d just lost my precious boy, my first born and only son and the light and love of my life. He was my world, my everything and he was dead. Taken from me suddenly and tragically as a passenger in an automobile accident. What could possibly be worse?
The pain I was in was so deep that it rendered me helpless. I was but a shell of the woman who never would have stood for or obeyed those horrifying words that came out of the funeral director’s mouth. Words that haunt me to this very day.
I had words too. Words I needed to say to that beautiful boy lying on that table. The kind of boy that made you actually believe there is a God. That even after all the suffering and loss of everyone and everything that ever mattered to you, he was a reason to live. To make good choices. To get an education, work hard and defy every odd. Break the cycle of abuse, neglect and dysfunctionality that had existed in my family for generations.
I was going to be a good Mom. Give my kid’s everything I’d wished for, prayed for, pleaded for, but never seemed to get. LOVE and I loved my son with every cell and fiber of my being. He took my pain away. He gave me a reason to live; to keep trying, fighting. To not give up even though I had pretty much every reason thrown at me. Still, I haven’t figured how why bad things happen to the good.
He was dead and so was I. I was breathing but for all intents and purposes, I was as dead as my perfect boy lying cold and lifeless on that table. His death is the single biggest contributor to why this story doesn’t have a happy ending. How far I’ve fallen and what I’ve discovered along the way.
I never expected so many people to read my story or envisioned anyone reaching out to me. It’s restored my lost faith in humanity which I am grateful. I thank each and every one of you who shared your thoughts with me.
So dead on that table was the boy I lived for, worked for, grew up with. I was only 18 when I had him. We learned and evolved together. We were a team. Me parenting him, him parenting me. His love, guidance and support was adept at keeping me sane, level and happy. He had a genius level I.Q, with a soul so gentle and a heart full of a deep compassion for others. Never said a bad word about anybody, A giver not a taker. Never made a single enemy in his life or even a childhood rough and tumble. I never heard him swear although I’m sure he did when I wasn’t around.
He would hug and kiss me hello and goodbye every single day, in front of his friends or anyone who happened to be there. He didn’t care when he was called a Momma’s boy. He’d smile and agreed. He moved into the apartment directly next door to me after I got sick. He did my grocery shopping, errands and would drive me to my doctor’s appointments. His name was T.J and he wasn’t just my son. He was my best friend. We had our own special language that no one else understood.
We talked all the time and shared everything with one another, but I had yet to tell him some things. Just a few minutes. A moment in time that comes and goes so quickly one barely notices. Words from a Mother to her Son. After all, it would forever be the last time I would ever see him. These words I needed to say to my boy were going to have to sustain me for the remainder of my days on earth.
I waited patiently while others filed through viewing my son. I was trembling both inside and out as the tears flowed down my face. Any second and it would be just the two of us. I would hold his hand for the last time and kiss his cheek, whisper those special words in his ear and say goodbye forever. It was paramount to me, and I know to him as well. We got each other on a level few can understand.
Let’s get back to the unscrupulous funeral owner still fuming mad because we hadn’t bought the big money, “survivors’ guilt” funeral she tried pushing. That should have been a red flag on what was to come but I was too beaten up to even stand up on my own two feet. I was the epitome of destroyed. But what happened next was almost worse than losing my child.
The funeral home director changed my life forever and I can never and will never forgive her. At first, I thought I heard her wrong. Who would deny a mother 2 minutes to say goodbye to her child? I still cannot fathom such cruelty, lack of compassion and humanness. Especially from those whose job and business it is to aid others through tragedy and loss.
These are indeed the exact words she said to me when I asked for a few precious minutes alone with my dead child.
“NO. You’ve taken up too much of my time as it is, you need to leave now!”
I was stunned, shocked, frozen. I tried to speak but nothing came out. Inside I was screaming for my baby boy, outside I was frozen in such shock and grief and complete helplessness as she hurriedly closed the door between me and my boy. I strained for one last glimpse, and she was gone. He was gone and that one moment, that one most important moment was gone. Lost to me forever and ever and ever. Two minutes of that funeral home’s time changed the remaining minutes, days, weeks, years for me.
Read reviews, feel people out, get a sense of their decency and compassion, when you are in my situation. Don’t let anyone steal your voice or take a once in a lifetime moment away from you. Don’t let the bad guys win. Keep fighting. If I can prevent any grieving loved one from this regret, then the tears falling from my eyes misting my computer screen, will have been worth it.
All the memories and emotions this has conjured up inside me have had a profound and visceral effect that I wasn’t expecting. I am a recluse now. I have lost almost my entire family through one tragedy after another. My sister got killed on her bicycle, 2 weeks before her sweet 16 by a drunk priest. 5 years later my brother was killed in a drunk driving accident. He was a highly successful hairdresser and beautiful human being who happened to be gay. One time he was so ridiculed that he ran from the scene to his car with tears and had a car accident. He died 2 weeks before his 30th birthday. Next to die was my first love and childhood sweetheart who I always figured I’d end up spending my life with. He proposed 2 weeks prior, and I foolishly said I wasn’t ready. He was due to graduate law school. We loved each other but were apart by 500 miles. He was 26. Regret, regret, regret.
Less than a year later, my 47-year-old stepfather, who was the first real parent who ever paid attention to me. He treated me like the child he never had. He taught me how to do a million things and recognized my worth, intelligence and heart. He was more of a Father than my real father. He could even tell me he loved me. Words my own father was incapable of uttering. This man who I loved and needed in my life, suddenly, developed an aggressive rare form of cancer that took him from skydiving to a ravaged 70-pound man. He took his last breath in my arms. I was afforded the chance to say goodbye to him and to thank him for everything he had done for me.
Within the past 6 years I lost my biological Father at the age of 78. I had to pull the plug after he suffered a heart attack that left him brain dead. I had to lay beside him in his hospital bed for the next 11 1/2 hours.
Back to the regret I’ll take to my grave. I have many but not getting to say goodbye to the most important, most loved, most admired human of my entire tragic filled life is probably the greatest. I never even to got to kiss him goodbye.
I regret not being stronger and speaking up for my son and myself. I’d give anything to go back and not take NO for an answer.
I let the bully win. I lost my house, my Jaguar, my good credit, my self-respect,
Everything I had worked so hard for and the reason I tried to do everything to the best of my ability. To be kind to others, not judge and to give back. Help anyone and everyone I could. Be a good human being. Be honest, forgiving, and helpful. Patient and understanding. I did all of those things.
I was a self-made millionaire at 30 years old, have owned 5 restaurants and employed hundreds of people. Now I’m dirt poor, live off a meager disability payment of less than $800 a month and $40 in food stamps. I’ve rolled pennies to buy the milk to ease my hunger pains, I’ve got a myriad of health problems that I ignore.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO BE KIND.