I Meant To...

What's that old saying? The road to hell is paved with good intentions?

I can't tell you how much trouble "I was going to..." or "I meant to..." never got me out of.

Yesterday, Glennisha tweeted about her uncle and then later did a post on how she wanted to go see him, and waiting on her mother missed an opportunity to see him before he passed -- how she didn't follow her first mind.

In the Spring of 2008 one of my uncles was found in a diabetic coma. He lived alone and doctors surmised he had been that way for about 3 days. He came out of the coma, but he was confused and unable to care for himself. My mom and his daughter moved him to a nursing home. At the time, I was 2 hrs away, going to school. My mom kept telling me he was getting better every day. When I went home for a weekend, my mom asked me if I wanted to go with her to the nursing home to see him. I have really bad memories of nursing homes. I hate the way they smell, I hate the stories I've heard of how people are treated. On top of that, I was scared to see my uncle laid up in a bed and not know who I was or who my mom was. I thought about what it would mean if I didn't go and he died before I saw him, so I asked my mom "how is he? Do you think I should?" She said, "he's ok. He'll be fine. You should go, but you don't have to." I didn't. A week or so later, she called to tell me he had passed away. Everyone was a little shocked because everyone thought he was getting better. I felt horrible. I could recall that hesitation -- that voice telling me to suck it up and just go see him, just to be safe -- and I ignored the voice because I was scared.

On some levels, I was scared that the last memory I would have of him would be him helpless in a bed, confused and maybe scared. But that doesn't excuse me. "I meant to" is surely not cutting it, in this case.

My mom's best friend died of breast cancer when I was young. Maybe 7 or 8. I remember one of the last times we went over to her house, my mom kept trying to get me to leave her room. I was so irritated because I couldn't figure out what they were talking about that she didn't want me to hear. Later that evening, I asked her why she kept trying to send me out of the room. She said, "because I don't want the last memory you have of her to be her so sick and weak..." that stuck with me. I made it a point to try to remember other times with her, other than when she was sick.

15 years later, that night is the night I remember most vividly, but I do remember getting sick one day at school. My mom worked at a plant and it was hard for her to just leave work, so there were a lot of other people we had to call in situations like this. At the time, her best friend was one. I remember her coming to pick me up and taking care of me. She had two grown sons and had always wanted a daughter. I think she saw me as her daughter and sometimes I wonder what type of relationship we would've had, if she were still alive.

Lately, I've been watching some old TLC stuff from right after Left-Eye was killed, back in 2002 (I'm not sure this has come through on my blog yet, but I'm a HUGE TLC fan). Chilli shared that she was very regretful that she wasn't able to get a chance to see Left-Eye before she left for Honduras. Before then, they had been having serious disagreements and while T-Boz and Left-Eye had had a chance to talk, it wasn't the same for Chilli and Left-Eye. Of course these were interviews done 6 mos to a year after the tragedy, but I can't help but imagine that she feels the same.

In any case, however you remember a person, whatever the last time is, I think it's more important to have that last time and always recall it, than to not have that last time and regret it forever. Of course this makes sense and we'd all like to think we'd always seize the opportunity if it's presented to us, but sometimes, we don't know that it will be the last time. Not to be all sad and depressing, but I guess too many of us take too much of the rest of our lives and the people in it for granted. I know I do.

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