“Old Man Regret”

5 08 2008

 I heard a story yesterday that I would like to share with you.  I believe it  relates to each one of us on some level.

There was a woman whose father had recently moved back to town after being gone for many years.  He was on his fourth wife and this marriage didn’t look too good either.  Now Nina, (as I’ll call the woman) one day felt that she needed to give him a call and see if he wanted to come over to her house.  At first she thought “why am I doing this?” but she did it anyway.  The father agreed and for the first time in years Nina’s 80 year old father climbed the stairs to her house.  Now something must be said of this feat.  Many years ago her father had cancer in which surgery followed the course of treatments.  The cancer went into remission, but left him breathless with any exertion.  So to see this man breatheless climbing those stairs was an amazing sight.  “Why had he said yes?”, Nina wondered.

While visiting, Nina’s grandchildren, who (being somewhat kind) are a major handfull, came to see their great-grandfather.  They proceeded to want to play with him as if he were a young man.  Nina was very aware of the damage they could cause and started to intervene in case her father actually keeled over! However, her father would hear none of it and wanted the children to continue.  Nina retreated with a wary eye.  A little while later Nina saw her father giving money out to the children.  Now really this was the last straw!  What was he doing?  Now everytime they see him they will expect money!  How could he not know this!

Now here is the important part.  Nina later asked her father why he had given the kids the money.  Didn’t he know he was conditioning them to always expect money from him.  She just wanted to know why.  His reply was “Because I have never been here! I have never given birthday gifts, baby gifts, attended concerts, and school activities.  I have never been involved in their lives. Now I can and I want to share what I have with them.”  Nina was floored.  What could she say? 

What “Old Man Regret” do we have in our lives?  Is there something now we can stop before it gets too late?  Is there someone we have not communicated with for a while?  Pick up the phone, drive by, take the time to be involved and remember an “Old Man’s Regret” of not ever being there don’t wait until you are 80.

Live… Love… Breathe…  let your life in and experience it!

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