This morning I watched the end of the film called ‘About Time’ by Richard Curtis. It was one of the best messages in a film that I have ever watched. To start with it seems like another formulaic rom-com, but it turns out to have a powerful life message.
The males in this family have the gift of time travel and they can go back to any point and make changes to alter outcomes of the future.
Now the fact is none of us can do that.
The thing is, do the right thing at the time, take a moment to think before you act and think about the pain something that you know is wrong, but you do it anyway out of habit.
I knew my father was very unwell at Christmas, but had I known the pain I am in now, because I didn’t say goodbye properly. I did not know how to, as I’d never faced that circumstance in life. It comes partly from my home environment, where my father especially, didn’t always know how to show his emotions, he was restricted by his fear of vulnerability, he was deeply effected by the peer pressure of men being tough and not showing their emotions.
My Dad died at the end of January and we were all together, the whole family at Christmas. However, I didn’t know the end was coming quite so soon perhaps, and didn’t stop to think, I could have sat on that patio with him and given him a hug and told him how much I loved him. We could have talked about all the good times in life that we had shared, the laughs watching Laurel and Hardy, the laughs on family holidays, the time we sneaked food into the hotel we were staying at, and chucked all the crumbs out the window. We could have laughed about all the ups, and mainly downs, of following our shared love of Millwall football club, a thing that is in my heart, and my family still. We could have reminisced about all the times I travelled the country with him during my school holidays, we could have joked about lots of things.
He was blessed with the ability not to take life too seriously, although inwardly he suffered from many restrictions and at the end, I think, he had a number of regrets about not being the person he truly wanted to be.
This I am going to use to ease the pain of not saying goodbye the way I would have done, if I had that time machine. I even know as I type this, that regret is futile, as if there was a time machine, I would have done the same, as we live in a determined world.
All we can do is change the now and the future, from the learning that we have had. To keep repeating the same wrong things, is a choice, once you know something is wrong. Then you have to live with the consequences of that and that is when you feel pain.
So all I can say is, in my head, my Dad will be there until my dying day, and I can reminisce now and whenever I choose to. Yes I am more than a little sad that I didn’t do enough at the end.
However, I am will use your example to not take life too seriously going forward, and I will use your regret of not changing, to continue to change myself to the person I have always wanted to be, but I didn’t allow myself to be until more recently.
We have to realise, this is not a dress rehearsal, there is no time machine and therefore, we have to take each day, and say that there is an obligation to ourselves, to choose to make the very best of that day, no matter what comes along.
What we choose to do today, will be our memories tomorrow.
By choosing a positive approach to life, by choosing to be happy, by choosing to do the right thing, we make our memories better. That after all, is all that we will have to look back on at the end of our lives. The memories of emotions, not stuff, is all that will matter.
Also, the memories that we create, will be the legacy that we will leave behind in the heads of others that we touched along the way in our life journeys.
Remember we choose what we leave behind in our heads and others, there is no rewind, no time machine to correct. So I can not go back and re-run my last days with my Dad, what I can do going forward is use his legacy, the positive memories that he has left in my head, to help leave better memories for myself and the others that touch in the remainder of my life.
I was going to wait until the 9th October, you birthday Dad, to say I love you, I miss you, you are gone, but you legacy will remain with me always.