So I met with a friend today, I am blessed to have a small circle that are open and honest about life, listening without judgment and sharing advice when asked. We talked about our recent life, current challenge and all sorts of things we had read as of late and then we cycled around to relationships and motherhood. Having friends that you can share your burdens with, that can stand with you in guilt, pain, and shame is so essential to the soul. I hope I can offer the same support to those in my circle that I received today. We eventually landed on the topic of the guilt we carry as mothers, things that we will always carry and can never release.
Driving home and ruminating about those items, I realized that at this point in my life, there are things I will never be able to experience. I understand we leave this world with things undone and if we are lucky those are minimal. I have done some of the things on my bucket list, I have seen the sun rise on the first location in the country and set on its last point in the US. I have seen many ordinary miracles and stood observing their glory. I have read the must read classics. I hand fed a Sumatran Rhino. I have felt the waves of the Pacific and Atlantic. I have brought life into this world three times. I have known joy and pain. I have had so many wonderful blessings, too many to count.
There are still things I may experience. I have never seen the Grand Canyon. I have never seen the touristy things in NYC. I have never been told I am beautiful, not the pretty comment that is based on looks but beautiful. I have never been to Europe, to see the castles and keeps of Ireland and Scotland, the glass artists of Venice, the Eiffel Tower. There are so many….
But there are things I will leave this world never knowing. I will never know the joy of raising a child in a loving home with both parents. I will never know if the challenges my children face as adults, if they have their own struggles to connect in a meaningful way is a result of the poor choices I made. I will never know the without a doubt I did not cause damage that they will carry for a lifetime. I will never know that without a doubt all my efforts were enough, that I was able to fill the gap, to teach them to love with their whole heart unconditionally and to never accept anything less because they deserve it. And heaven forbid if one of them ends up in the same position I found myself in, I will never know that it was not my fault. The weight of that guilt is almost too much to bear.
“Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.” ― Voltaire