Friday, February 25, 2011

It's not my place to judge ...

Last week I attended a funeral.  As far as funerals go it wasn't overly sad.  The gentleman who passed away was in his 70's and was suffering Parkinson's Disease, so his passing was probably welcome by him.  He had lived a full life.

I met this man a while back, he's a relative of my Fiancé.  He started coming to visit me on Tuesdays while I was caring for my Mother In Law (who has Alzheimer's).  He was incredibly lonely.  Living with his 9 year old German Shepherd, who was also aging and not well.  The last time he came to visit me, before Christmas, he was looking tired.  He was sad that he might have to put his beloved dog down.  He was sad because he was so lonely.  He was sad because he didn't have any grand children, nor a close relationship with his only daughter. He was tired of being alive.He was desperate to find a woman to spend the rest of his years with.  Sadly that was not to happen.

Two weeks ago he passed away.  Alone, save for his dog.  He was found by a friend, 2 days later.  He suffered a heart attack.  One week later his beloved dog was also put down.

At the funeral I saw his daughter for the first time.  She was up at the pulpit talking about her father.  She described a man who was a loving father, a hard worker, a kind man.  She would cry every so often.  At first I felt annoyed by this.  Where was she while her dad was dying from loneliness?  Why didn't she ever call him, other than when she wanted money?  Why didn't she hug him and make him feel loved?  I wanted to call her a fake, a fraud.

Then something happened.

I started thinking about regrets.  I wondered if she regretted that she wasn't a better daughter to him.  I wondered if she was crying, not because he died, but because she regretted not being there for him?  I then started thinking about what I knew about her family.  I hardly know them.  I don't know what he was like when he was a vibrant man.  I only knew him as a frail, lonely old man.  I didn't know why she wasn't there for him.  I didn't know the dynamics of their relationship.  I really didn't know anything.  I had no right to judge this woman crying in the pulpit for her father.   Whether she was crying because she loved this man who died and would genuinely miss having a father or whether she was crying because of what she didn't have with him really doesn't matter.  This was her grief and I, nor anyone else there, had the right to judge her.

I've been thinking all week about regrets.  The regrets we all naturally feel when we lose someone.  I wish I was there for them more.  I wish I never said those cruel words.  I wish I let that silly argument go.  I wish I told them I loved them more.

Life is so very fragile, the Christchurch earthquake is a stark reminder of this.  How many people went to work on the day of the earthquake having fought with their parter, child, parent?  How many people left behind have regrets?

Do something for me today.  Tell the people you love how much you love them. If you are having an argument with a loved one, let it go.  Hug your kids.  Call your mum or dad.  Do something.  You will feel good about it and you will most likely make their day.

Your biggest regrets aren't the things you did, but the things you didn't do.



  1. Sitting here with a lump in my throat. Its been a very irritable week/month. Time for some perspective and love. Gorgeous post. Lx

  2. A very touching post! It's so easy to judge really and act like we're better than everyone else. Thanks for reminding us readers to strive to be good persons.

  3. Annie my love, so many of your posts strike a deep cord with me. This one in particular.

    I have tears, as I know what you are saying is true, for me and my Mum. I need to act more generously.

    Thank you Annie.


  4. This is a wonderful post.

    Much love to you.

  5. So, so sad.... that that poor man had such loneliness. Yes, she could have been crying for many reasons. Beautiful post Annie. Just hugged my boys. A-M xx

  6. This post had me almost crying, too - thinking of that poor man.

    It's not only those without close family who go through this. My grandfather was recently put in a home - due to his physical and mental state, my grandmother could no longer care for him.

    Now, she's going to have to go into care, too - because she is so terribly, terribly depressed about him not being there any more, and she's proven that it's not safe to leave her on her own.

    She has 3 kids, and lots of us grandkids - but right now, none of that helps - it's heartbreaking.

    It really makes me look to my marriage, my relationship with my parents, and realise that I need to cherish every day - because who knows how much time we have with those we love?

  7. Beautiful post, Annie.

    So many things hit home at funerals. I remember sitting at my grandparents' funerals last year, looking around and thinking how great it was that so many people were there, missing them and having loved them. And that no one ever said they were proud of how much stuff they had or how much money they earned, but everyone talked about the laughs and the get-togethers and the funny little things. All the times that you say in life, 'oh I've just wasted an afternoon chatting to a friend rather than achieving something' - well, they're actually the big things.


  8. What a really moving and thoughtful post. And you are so right. We never know what is happening for other people. People don't know my problems and I don't know theirs but we all do our best, and live each day hoping that we will be jugded for our efforts rather than our short-comings.
    But life is good. And regrets are wasted energy. Always far better to learn from mistakes and move forward than to dwell on the past and stay still :-)
    have a great weekend

  9. What a beautiful, thought provoking post Annie. Regrets are useless sometimes we just need a little push towards taking the first step, swallowing ones pride, and looking at the bigger picture. It is also cherishing the little things each day. Being thankful and grateful for what we have and those around us. It is also about taking the time. The time to say thank you, the time to smile at the lady on the bus, or open the door for someone at the shop. It is so many things. Thank you for reminding me.

  10. the Guv and i make a point of never going to bed angry and never parting angry. any argument is always sorted out before we either sleep or part ways.

    life is too short to stay angry at someone for longer than a few minutes - regardless of what they have done.


  11. Oh Annie. This was lovely. The generosity to resist judging is my very favourite thing that people can do. Thank you for sharing. xxx

  12. Wonderful post Annie. Found myself nodding at everything. And when the daughter takes the headphones out, the son turns off the playstation, and the husband puts down the paper, I will tell them all I love them. No regrets.

  13. As you know Annie this has been at the forefront of my mind this past week also. So true. Thank you xxx

  14. Thank you all for sharing with me. xx

  15. I think we have all been in this situation before, Annie. Life is so short and so precious.

  16. Annie, your posts are always so beautiful.
    I am calling my mum today!! xx

  17. Oh families. They're not easy. And I am weak :(


Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me x

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