If someone told you that you could go back in time to a day of your choice and change it, would you?
I asked one of my sisters that question and she immediately answered “Nope, I have no regrets”. “I’m not talking about regrets” I said, “Is there any one day or incident that you would change if you could”? Her answer remained a firm “no”.
For me one moment in particular came to mind, a snowy day in January, 1978. “I would have left the laundry soap in the car” I told her. “Regret is a waste of time” she said. I didn’t see it that way at the time but Sis was right, I was talking about regret.
January, 1978, was a very snowy month and another storm had hit the area two or three days prior to that day so there was still a foot plus of snow on the ground. I was unloading the car after shopping for our second son’s first birthday celebration. Maintainance for the apartment complex where we living had still not cleared the sidewalks so I was being careful. All bags were in the house except for the laundry soap.
“Leave it” my husband said, “I’ll bring it up later”.
I should have listened.
While carrying that single bottle back to the apartment I slipped and fell. I don’t know what happened because I didn’t feel anything. There was enough snow to cushion my fall and all I was aware of was the loud pop I heard echo through the apartment buildings. Evidently, that was the sound of breaking bones. When I tried to get up I found I couldn’t move. I tried a couple of times but I just couldn’t move and I didn’t know why. Luckily someone saw me fall and my struggle to move and the next thing I know Hubby’s kneeling by me telling me not to move. My ankle was shattered and the two bones above the ankle were broken.
I can still see the faces of my two little boys watching from the bedroom window as I was loaded into the ambulance. Their tears broke my heart.
In the operating room they told me my toes were where my heel should have been. I was in a cast up to my hip from January until July and then a cast from the knee down until September. That was nothing compared to the fact that I missed my son’s first birthday.
To add further insult to injury, two weeks prior to the accident I had interviewed for a position as a nurse at the Elmira Psych Center. The call that the position was mine came while I was in the hospital so I had to decline the offer.
Thinking about the four surgeries, bone grafts, many, many casts and knowing I have not had a pain-free day in 40 years because of that accident I was positive. “Yep, the laundry soap would have stayed in the car that day”, that’s the moment I would have changed.
But then I started thinking about how my life and that of my family’s might have been different if I changed that moment all those years ago.
Working at the Psych Center meant I wouldn’t have taken the various jobs through the years working with several different lawyers, which in turn eventually led me to my last position as a Court Clerk. I would have met and worked with different people. I wouldn’t have met my youngest son’s wife who also worked at the same municipality. If I hadn’t met her my son wouldn’t have either and we wouldn’t have the two wonderful grandchildren they gave us including our only granddaughter.
So many little things that would have changed that I couldn’t even realize or the effects those changes would cause.
If I had been able to accept that position at the Psych Center I believe that eventually the home we bought would have been a different home. Our boys would have grown up in a different neighborhood, met different friends, probably worked at different jobs. It’s also possible my other sons may not have met the wonderful women they would eventually marry.
So many things probably would have changed, some minor but some could have been major and definitely life altering, possibly not at all positive. Changes that could have been much worse than a few broken bones.
The difficulties we have dealt with through the years resulting from that snowy January day have made us the family we are now. My sons grew up seeing their father cooking, cleaning, doing dishes and laundry every time I was recovering from another surgery or was in a cast. He has always been and continues to be my helpmate. To this day he’s always concerned about me falling. I’d like to believe that in some small way my sons are the caring, loving, hands on husbands and fathers they are because of the example set by their Dad through the years.
I will admit to having many “why me” moments through the years and will probably have more of them in the years to come. I try to keep to myself during those moments because I will admit to sometimes being a bit irritable. Hubby always knows when I’m having a bad day. On the plus side I always know when it’s going to rain or snow and that can come in handy. I have often joked that in a past life I was a very mean, unpleasant diva ballet dancer who is paying for her actions in this lifetime.
Was that day just a random accident or did things happen exactly the way they were supposed to happen? A long time ago someone once told me that everything happens for a reason and I’ve come to believe that is true. I was wrong when I told my sister I wasn’t talking about regrets because that’s exactly what I was feeling. Regret for a choice I made on that long ago day and the consequences of that decision.
I will admit Sis had more wisdom than I did at that time. Regrets are a waste of time and I now try not to let that emotion into my life. Despite the daily aching joints and difficulty walking most days, I wouldn’t change that day or any other. All those days, moments and choices through the years have led me to where and who I am right this moment. It may not be a perfect life but it has been and continues to be a good life shared with those I love most.
If offered the opportunity to go back in time and change any one day or moment of my choice my answer would also be a firm “no thank you”.
Have you ever had one of those moments? What would you do?
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