hands holding a ball of scribbles and then letting it go

Letting Go

My parents were wonderful people. In fact, I’d say they were the best parents a boy could ask for.

But one of them had a small flaw when it came to parenting. I don’t want to say whom so let’s just call her Mom.

Spanking was all the rage back then but Mom, being an independent thinker, took another route–the dreaded Guilt Trip.

Other kids were seemingly lucky. When they did something wrong, they got a couple swats followed by a stern “never do that again” and they were done.

Not so with Mom.

My training in the fine art of feeling guilty

If you strung my mother’s lectures all together in a book it would be the size of Crime and Punishment. Come to think of it, the book’s main character, Raskolnikov, was racked with guilt. Maybe he had a mom like mine.

I know this post may not apply to everyone but it’s a good bet that some of you were well trained in the fine art of feeling guilty. It’s almost a hobby for some of us.

Of course, I’m an adult now. I no longer feel guilty about the candy bar I stole, the rock I tossed through our window, or my pet garter snake that somehow found its way into the house. But now when I do something I regret my fine-tuned guilt gland goes into action.

The complexity of human relationships

Unless you live in a cave, eating ambrosia, surrounded by beautiful, sexy robots programmed to meet your every need, you probably have to navigate your life around relationships with other people. Unfortunately, we are all humans and, unlike dogs who love unconditionally, we don’t always get along.

Love and hate, conflict and (hopefully) resolution are all a part of that. This, of course, is normal. Except when it isn’t.

I joke about my Mom but really she was a good parent. My life wasn’t destroyed. My self-worth is intact. I didn’t become a felon. I’ve spent no time in prison. I’ve never killed anyone or broken any laws. Well, except for that red light I ran but that’s another story.

Sure I have regrets and broken relationships. Some have been overcome, some have not. But for the most part I’ve learned to let all that go. Well, mostly. I am a professional guilt hoarder remember so you can’t expect perfection.

Blood cancer puts a new spin on life

My point is this: leukemia, and cancer in general, puts a whole new spin on life. We don’t have the energy to waste on guilt and regret. If we’ve hurt someone, we should try and make it right, but if our efforts fail we need to let go. If we fester anger towards others who’ve done us wrong, we need to forgive them.

You know, the only place a rearview mirror belongs is on a car. We shouldn’t waste the precious time we have looking back. Whether it’s something we did to someone else or something they did to us, we have no time to spend mulling it all over.

Reminiscing is only meant for good memories. Like all the things my Mom got right.

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