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Dealing with Regret


Regret is an insidious companion. It brings deep pain and unnecessary guilt. I am learning I can generally shut it down with facts. (And if I should come upon a regret I cannot shut down, I suppose I will have to admit my mistake, forgive myself and move on).

These days I am hearing two distinct voices in my head:

1. I should have more vigorously pursued clinical trials (or a different diet, or treatment at a different cancer center, etc.).

You did the best you could with the information and opportunities you had at the time.

You did hundreds of hours of research and Jeff had major input and opinions as well; ultimately everything was Joe’s decision, not yours.

Other cancers respond well to certain treatments; there is no truly effective treatment for glioblastoma—it adapts to whatever you throw at it. That’s why oncologists and naturopaths alike consider it a “beast”. (For those reading this who are dealing with the beast, research is vigorous and new treatments are being approved all the time. Don’t lose hope!)

And this is hard to take, but: Joe was never interested in living a long life; he didn’t mind at all the prospect of dying.

2. Wish I had provided more physical comfort. He was always chilly; we should have kept the heater turned up.

He would have known other people in the house were uncomfortably hot and he would NOT have liked that—he would never want to be responsible for someone else’s discomfort.

He didn’t mind wearing his comfortable jacket or fleece vest around the house. He also ran a space heater in his bedroom, remember?

You provided good food, a clean quiet bedroom, and countless other comforts.

3. I should have spent more time with him.

Besides all the driving to and from appointments, you read to him often, played cards and chess with him, went for walks with him, and got out your guitar to jam with him many evenings, even when you didn’t feel like it.

You were tired.

He really liked solitude.

4. I wish we could have remodeled the garage into a studio for him, like he wanted.

That would have been a major expense, and you had other expenses that took priority.

His bedroom was basically a studio; he had mics and speakers and Logic Pro, and everything he needed to record himself or other family members.

Eventually you would have helped him start his own studio, either as part of the house or at another property. That’s the kind of parents you are.

***

Two voices: one condemns, the other gives grace. I must continually choose which one to listen to.


I love you, Joe.

#regret

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