Oh, the Places we Didn't Go

20150913_173205.jpgAs I move forward without Megan, I can’t help but think about things we did and trips we took together.  I want to be able to share those memories, and relive some of those places with Shelby, and Sarah as well.  Just because Megan and I enjoyed going to a particular place together doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t also share that with someone else.

The trip I just took though was something entirely different.  I’ve created a new memory with Sarah, without Megan, of someplace that was so obvious that it almost gives me a sense of guilt.  I’m unsure how to reconcile that guilt...that feeling that I really should have done this with Megan.  Not that I COULD have been there with Megan at the time, but that I SHOULD have done this with her before she died.  

I had the opportunity to attend my second Camp Widow, in Toronto this past weekend.  It was just as valuable as my first, back in February in Tampa.  Perhaps there was much less anxiety about it, but I still gained new insights and met some really good people over the weekend, while being able to offer a bit of my own thoughts in a much more open manner than last time.


With that said, on Sunday, Kelley, Sarah and I travelled to a small park on the Northeast fringes of downtown Toronto together, took a walk to a rainbow bridge, and met some really interesting locals, I’ll let Kelley tell that story, because it's a good one in and of itself, and it's hers to tell.  After we dropped her back at the hotel, Sarah and I hit the road and drove to Niagara Falls.


We had decided we would spend a night there in order to be a little closer to home, and to spend some time together for ourselves.  We booked the hotel a few weeks ago, and came up with a few plans such as doing the Journey Behind the Falls and taking the Maid of the Mist to the base of the falls.,    It was going to be an easy 24 hours or so to just relax after the long weekend.  


Niagara Falls is only about 3 hours from my home in Ohio.  I’d been there a few times when I was young, but I hadn’t been there since I’ve been an adult.  It was great to have Sarah there with me to share it with.  We had a wonderful dinner on the rooftop of one of the large hotel towers on Sunday evening, and then went back to our room on the 43rd floor to marvel at the view of the falls. 


What crept in over those few hours Sunday evening was a thought I didn’t expect.  I started to feel a slight guilt that I had never brought Megan here.  It wasn’t incredibly expensive, being outside of the main tourist season.  It isn’t a far drive...we could have done this on a day trip even.  It’s beautiful, and entertaining, and romantic, and just plain fun to be there.  


I never took Megan.  Over 12 years together, and not once did I say “Hey, let’s jump in the car this morning and go see the falls.”


Make no mistake, I didn’t want to be there with anyone other than Sarah at those moments, but just the same, I wished that I had been there with Megan in the past.  I chose the picture of Sarah looking at the falls because you know what? Megan deserved to have that same picture taken at least once.  We just got home a bit ago, and I’m still going over this in my head.  It’s not grief, and it’s not a longing for Megan to be here right now.  


It’s regret.


I regret that something that would likely have been a minor weekend trip that we both would have enjoyed immensely wasn’t taken.  We took the big vacations...California, Maine, Gatlinburg, etc., but we didn’t take this trip.  Why?  Even though it wouldn’t have kept her alive any longer, or made her less sick, it would have added one more happy memory to our time.  I could have gotten to see the wonder in her eyes that I saw in Sarah's.


I enjoyed being there with Sarah so much that I felt guilty that I didn’t enjoy it with Megan at least once.  We’ve already made plans to go back soon, taking Shelby this time, because it’s so obvious a place to go.  


I guess I’m still learning that as many things as Megan and I did together, sickness be damned, that there were indeed a few easy things we forgot to scratch off of our lists.  And you know what?  I guess I just have to be OK with that.  I’ll do my best to make sure to use Megan’s example of living life to the fullest when you can and where you can, and not sweating the small stuff.    


Regret is kind of a useless emotion if you don’t turn it into future action.  


Showing 5 reactions

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  • Carla Duff-Calvert
    commented 2015-09-22 17:19:07 -0700
    I have that same regret about Jared. We did major trips but never did the easy day trips in our state. Now as we do them without him, I think why didn’t do this when he was here? Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone in my regrets. Bu like you, I try to use that emotion for something good.
  • Kelley Lynn
    commented 2015-09-19 08:00:04 -0700
    BY the way, thank you for letting me tell the story about the Rainbow Bidge, which Ill be doing in my personal blog over the weekend. I havent had the time to properly write it all out, but I do today and tomorrow.
  • Kelley Lynn
    commented 2015-09-19 07:57:44 -0700
    Oh I soooooo get this Mike!!! I have a TON of those “why didnt I take Don here” type feelings ALL THE TIME about places in NYC, and for me, the regret is soooo huge, because, much like Sarah is doing, Don picked up his entire life and left it behind in Florida to move to NJ and start a life with me. We lived literally EIGHT minutes outside of Manhattan. It was a quick bus ride into Times Square, and yes, we DID do a lot of NYC related things in his almost 7 years living there with me. But not NEARLY enough. Not even close. And now, there are very specific things I do alone or with friends in the city, where I have that strong regret feeling, like “Why the F&&K didnt I find the time to do this with Don? DAMMIT!!!” And he wasnt even sick, so I really have no excuse except we got comfortable and lazy and work and all that crap got in the way. But man, its such a sad feeling when youre in the midst of it, isnt it? Don loved NYC, and I feel like he barely got to feel and see the tip of the iceberg or less, of all its many amazing wonders. And theres nothing I can do to change that.
  • Dianne West
    commented 2015-09-16 21:25:01 -0700
    I have those regrets, too, Mike, and think it’s probably pretty normal for most of us to have a list of those ‘easy’ places we should have visited with our loves. I’ve now retired and I’m traveling … and I’m feeling the emotions that go along with doing things we should have done together when we had the chance. Not so much guilt, but a lot of regret that we didn’t fit in those little trips when we had the opportunity. I find myself looking at these new spots through his eyes, appreciating the things that I know he would have embraced, and that helps me feel he is right there with me.
  • Stephanie Vendrell
    commented 2015-09-15 16:32:04 -0700
    I have experienced similar feelings with my recent travels. Regret that Mike and I didn’t venture out more together, though the reasons why were many…and yes, guilt at the joy of traveling now. I guess they will just always be there…I hope, in time, we may finally allow it to sink in that they simply cannot be here and we must continue to live as we can. But that is NOT an easy process. Blessings to you and Sarah, and Shelby.