No Next Times

It might seem extreme.  But every time I’m angry enough with someone that I say I don’t have the energy or desire to ‘fix’ it – I think.

I think –  “what if they were dead”.

If my anger is more important than that-

There’s something else wrong.

Of course there could many different things ‘wrong’.  And they might not be my wrongs but someone else’s wrongs.  And maybe they aren’t wrongs at all.  But differences.   For that matter maybe they aren’t differences but misunderstandings.  If not misunderstandings maybe it’s a lack of effort to understand.  Or maybe, I just didn’t care enough to care.

Or possibly  if I’m so angry at someone that I don’t care if I fix the relationship or not….maybe the relationship has no value to me.

I know some people might read this and think I’m writing about or to them.

I’m not.

I’m writing about an experience.

When my dad died.

After he died I heard a lot of comments.  Comments about being together.   And “why didn’t I…”   And “I should have…..”    And “I never got to…..”.

Those things can’t be changed.

Those things that weren’t said.   Weren’t done.    Weren’t fixed.   They remain as they were at the time of his death.   Never to be changed.   Never to be given an opportunity for redemption.  No next times.  No chances to soothe hurts.   No chances to say ‘you hurt me’ and be open enough to let someone else make repairs.

And the follow up to those comments were “from now on I’m going to……”.

I spent many years having regrets and thinking my dad had regrets (took me awhile to realize that was arrogant of me).

It also took me a long time to learn that even if a relationship has no value to me….it does not in any way mean that the persons involved have no value.  And, that they have a perspective all their own that is likely very very different than mine.   We may both be right.  We may both be wrong.   But where ever we stand it is solely in our power to determine how we leave things or how we repair things.

And sometimes there is no repair to be made or to be had.   Sometimes there is only acknowledgement that there is pain.  And that regardless of the pain, you matter.  I matter.  We all matter.

Our feelings matter.  We have the absolute right to how we feel.  But how I feel doesn’t diminish your value.  And how you feel doesn’t diminish my value.

And there is nothing more important than you.   And I.

We can exist without anger.

Anger cannot exist without us.

And we will only exist for a short time.

I’ve lived after loss and carried (carry) sorrow and regrets.  I don’t think it’s extreme to try and live my life now so I don’t pick up more along the way.    Or leave any behind me when I go.

It’s not easy.    But I’ve tried to make sure my anger does not carry more value than my love.  Or my self respect.

51 thoughts on “No Next Times

  1. Colleen, this is sobering, true and strikes a chord. Just today I read “The ego never feels equal to others but inferior or superior to others.” While anger is an emotion and emotions serve to guide us, more often than I suspect many would like – anger serves little constructive purpose and is frequently regretted. Some of us truly believe that love trumps all. 🙂 Thanks for your thoughtful post.


    • I believe love trumps all. I have to own my place in letting anger take too much of my life, I hope I can carry this with me always. Remembering how much time it’s robbed me of.

      And the ego quote…we are a complex species, aren’t we? Thank you Eric. 🙂


  2. A very thoughtful post Colleen. Anger is a part of our surviving. If we just accept all, our soul will die. All feelings are allowed and legal, we just don’t need to act on them.
    I think it is easy to feel regrets when a loved soul die, which is why we need to show our love to our loved ones, while we still are able to do that.


    • The not acting on them is key for sure, but acknowledging them and dealing with them is a different kind of action. Internal? That many of us (self here) didn’t always know how to do. Or weren’t willing to do. Just holding it is going to burn burn burn.

      And showing love, or forgiveness, or dealing with problems….it can’t be done after death. It can’t.

      Thank you Irene.


  3. Glad you shared this experience with us, it’s one of those ‘me too’ shares that makes us feel a little less alone in our experiences.


    • Thank you! This was one of those posts where I was worried it may not come across as I meant it. All of your comments are telling me otherwise. It does help to know my feelings are not isolated to just me.


  4. Stock full of lessons and brilliance. I absolutely love how you wrote this, with so much passion and thoughtfulness. I agree with you also, that everyone has value whether we agree with them or not, even whether we like them or not. We’re all valuable.


    • Thank you MeWhoAmI. I often write things to address my issues, or my faults, or my hopes. And after writing it, then reading it, I realize I had to write for a specific reason. And minutes after I wrote this and walked away from it…I realized what I was having to address in my own life.

      And I like that reference to “brilliance”. 😉


      • I kind of figured as much. 🙂 Writing is a great tool for such things. Plus our life makes for great writing material, words that can possibly even help others in similar situations. I often look back on my writings, as they are good reminders for me. It’s easy to forget our daily lessons.


        • It is easy to forget. Sometimes I’ll go back a few years on my posts and read and cringe. Or my eyes fly wide open with renewed energy about something. Determination to be “that”. Our lives are great fodder indeed. THank you!


  5. Colleen, You wonder why I love your writing, it is posts exactly like this, that leave me no choice but to love what you write. This has so much direct meaning to me, touches so close to home, as I try to fix what can be, mend that which should be mended, forgive as much as humanly possible, and find a balance among all of these acts. While reaching out to still others and helping them to the extent I can. So beautiful so well thought out. such loveing words. Thank you for sharing them with me. Take care, Bill


    • You’re welcome Bill. I’m honored that my words touch you in any way. I hope to retain how I feel about this post when I am angry, or willing to walk away from someone…. It truly is what matters. What we share with other humans.


  6. Anger is a heavy load to carry. Must be why those hanging on to old resentments are so miserable. 🙂
    I like how you peel the layers and get to the heart of the subject. Riveting reading and something to ponder. :/


  7. Wow, wow, what an important insight and distinction! Hadn’t thought to distinguish between the relationship not having value to me and person not having value. Excellent. I need to think about that. Hope you and David have an awesome weekend, dear Colleen!

    Hugs from Ecuador,


  8. I have great respect for the way you constantly evaluate the way you relate with the world at large, Colleen. You are wise. These posts are so educational for all.


  9. This one really got to me. For me, it’s one of the most important lessons in life–to be aware that our last words to someone may be just that. Our last actions, the same. What I do to you, I do to me. I love your depth, the way you think, and how brilliantly you write and communicate. Have a great weekend, every weekend. And in between lotsa great days. ❤


  10. Collen, I really love the end phrase – I’ve tried to make sure my anger does not carry more value than my love – you have just nailed it … that we are aloud to have anger and be anger, but it can’t be more important than the love we feel.
    Also anger eat us up .. and the longer we carry it, the less there will be of us.
    I love this post.
    Wish you a wonderful weekend.


    • Thank you Viveka! It’s something I am not perfect at. But writing it down makes it more ‘real’ and concrete to try and achieve.

      I hope you are doing better and have a beautiful weekend.


  11. I feel that this is a good way to think. I know that it upsets my kids when I make comments that sound like I am talking about the opposite of how I should react. I say things like ‘Things could be worse…’ well the idea of ‘what if they were dead,’ stops one from saying bad things. It does help to remember what you would feel like if these were your last words out of your mouth to them, should they have an accident.
    On a funnier note, my parents always made us clean our rooms. Isn’t this a morbid thing to tell kids, ‘If we die on our vacation, we don’t want people to think we lived like pigs!’ Hope this is funny, to me, as an adult it makes me laugh!
    I just was at home washing the dishes, since I am leaving town… going up to see Mom, the kids all coming up for my niece’s wedding tomorrow!


    • I DO INDEED find that funny! Who wants the world to look at your space after you’re gone and think we were ucky?

      On more than one occasion I would get mad at a child while trying to get them out the door for school. I would say in the car, or yell to them at the bottom of the drive way “DON’T LET ME BEING STUPID AND ANGRY RUIN YOUR DAY!” 🙂


  12. As I was reading your very insightful words, I had thoughts about people I have had disagreements with. The ones that mattered. I couldn’t come up with anybody I have been angry with, and didn’t let it go—except with myself. Hmmmm…..


  13. Wonderful post, Colleen. Great perspective on what matters … and what doesn’t, in the long run. It’s so hard to see the big picture sometimes, but insights like yours certainly help.


  14. ” And “I never got to…..”.

    my wife died of lung cancer

    for 3.1/2 years we fought the disease together

    one of the things she counted as a blessing was that she had foreknowledge that her death was imminent and so was able to mend bridges/repair broken relationships/friendships before she died – there was nothing left unsaid that needed to be said

    when confronting death, the ‘issues’ that separate us pale into insignificance

    it is better to take a step back, re-examine the situation

    life is too short to harbour a grudge

    heal those wounds while you have the time !


    • Duncan, thank you for sharing this. I hope others read this and hear your message.

      I’m sorry for the loss of your wife. But I admire that you fought with her and know that she left with no separations.


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