Imagine What I Missed

I remember walking home from school.  It was a short walk but often times felt so long.  Maybe because I measure by the length of my legs today compared to the length of my legs as a child.

I would walk out of the old stone school building and cross the street in front of the school.   Where our principal Sr. Anne had managed to get the city or street department to put in a traffic signal.  The traffic signal that gave us a safer cross walk and crossing signal to all of her little charges.  That same light that, someone  told the entire school assembly, was put in illegally.  All of Sr. Anne’s little charges sitting on the floor filled the large cafeteria with “ooooohs” and “aaaaahs”.   I felt bad for her.    I crossed there every day of school for eight years.  Safely, I might add.

I would walk up the street, passing the church on my left, that sat on the same side of the street as the school.  It is a grand church.  I would turn right, up my grandparents driveway.   Making sure to walk on their half of the driveway.  Not Fanny’s.  I was told Fanny didn’t like us walking on her part of the drive way.

I would walk past my grandparents house.  On my left.  Curve to me left past the house, then to my right, to pass along their garage.  The garage without any front.

Their driveway also had a parking area behind the house, that ran along the side of the garage.  When the parking area and garage stopped, the yard started.

And the brick side walk began.  I would walk the brick side walk through the yard.  The first half.  Passing the shed on the right where they kept things locked up.   Like their electric mower.  On the left were some trees.   Past the shed was a fire place built right in the yard out of brick.   Then you got to the hedges.   They split the large back yard in half.   On the right, past the hedges was a garden.   It was a wonderful vegetable garden.   I’m sure I didn’t appreciate it as much then as I would now.

One day.

I can’t stop thinking about that one day.

I wanted to get home.  I don’t know why.   Maybe I was tired.  Maybe I had to go to the bathroom.  Maybe I was hungry.  Maybe I didn’t want to carry my books any more.   Maybe I just didn’t want to talk to anyone.

This one day, Grandfather was in the garden.

I can see him in his light weight jacket.  I believe it was light tan.   Holding a hoe or a rake under his arm.  But using his hands to tie up the tomatoes.

He didn’t see me.

I knew I should have stopped to talk with him.   But for some reason I just wanted to keep going.  For whatever pressing reasons little kids have.

I can’t tell you how many days I may have stopped to talk to him.

But I can clearly tell you about that day that I did not.

And it haunts me.

 I imagine all of the things he may have told me.  Had I stopped to talk with him.

If I remember what didn’t happen….. imagine what I would remember if I had had that conversation.

I missed it.  That chance.  On that day.

And it went unsaid.

And I think about it often.

What I missed.

 What Did I Miss

35 thoughts on “Imagine What I Missed

  1. You know I think every one has these moments when they feel they could have done or said something more to someone and now that someone is gone. It is difficult not to feel guilty about these moments but I think we need to tell ourselves that these things happen and that that person would have understood.


    • True true! On occasion I feel guilt. But when I think of this incident it makes me sad more than guilty. I’m sure it has to do with getting older and having little grands myself now. I know how he would have felt (towards grands). Missed chances that can’t be recouped. I also wonder if I didn’t need to write this to keep myself aware of “today’s” chances and moments.

      And thank you, I know Grandfather was a wonderful man who was indeed kind and understanding. 🙂


  2. I am also with Marissa. I was 18, young naive and fell in love with a beach photographer when I went to the UK for the first time to see my grandmother and auntie. I was the only family member in the UK at the time, when my grandmother passed away. My mum begged me to attend the funeral. I was selfish and wanted to be with the love of my life…who cheated on me whilst there. It was a two hour bus trip..and I said no.
    To this day, I will never forgive my actions, wracked with guilt for not attending. It was heartless and callous and when I returned home, the tears from my mum… I will also never forget. But we do stupid things at times, we think of our wants and needs before others, especially when we are young. It is what it is and we can’t turn back the clock. I just hope my Nanna forgives me and I’m sure your grandfather does. Xxx


  3. Could it be that Grandfather saw you and also regretted not calling out to you? Or it could have been a day when he was working something out in his head and just needed to be alone? Whatever the reason we ponder the whys and why nots.


    • Oh I suppose it’s possible. 🙂 I ponder, more, the moments I recognize that I missed. I can’t tell you about conversations WITH him but I can tell you about the one I missed out on. If I had stopped and talked with him, would I even now remember it?


  4. We all miss things and we all reach out and grab things. The mind remembers both sides of the coin, Colleen, but it”s the misses that carve some days, we all know, You told this walking story superbly. You had quite the Catholic school retreat home as a kid, my friend.


  5. Sigh. I guess we all wish we had done or undone something, Colleen.

    My only regrets are around not going to school functions when my daughter was a youngster attending school. The problem was the plays and open houses etc. were in the daytime and I was a single mother and had to work. We weren’t allowed time off. Summer camp at the Y had performances Friday afternoons and I couldn’t go. She was so sad during those times. I still can’t shake the feelings of guilt from that time.


  6. It’s so true how we wish we could change things in hindsight. Perhaps in not stopping that one day and in looking back at it makes the soul grow deeper with compassion. There are so many things, so many lessons, I don’t understand. I like what your husband wrote, that perhaps he also regrets not calling after you. So much we just can’t know, or even understand. And yet I read a post like this and it brings me a little closer to some understanding or perspective that I hadn’t yet envisioned. Have a good weekend.


    • Thank you Paulette. It never occurred to me that he may have seen me and didn’t call to me. I would have a hard time believing that. But….once pointed out….I suppose it is possible.

      Have a beautiful weekend yourself Paulette.


  7. I know how you feel. I spent a lot of time thinking I should talk more with my Great Grandmother to learn her stories. When I was in college, I made up my mind to go see her during Christmas break and take a recorder and see if she’d talk. She died at 99 before the break and I lost my chance. I think often about the stories that died with her.

    So when my grandma landed temporarily in a nursing home after she broke her hip and I stopped by and she started talking about her college days, I absorbed every word. I asked questions and listened carefully and then when I left, sat in my car, desperately jotting down everything I could remember.

    We make mistakes and they haunt us but as long as they inform our decisions later in life in a positive way, they were not without benefit. I’m glad I decided to check out your blog – I’m enjoying it!


    • Bright Spots, first, thank you very much. I appreciate your comments and your reading. 🙂

      I can feel the hurried need sitting in that car writing every thing down while it was fresh in your mind. I also feel the sadness at missing that opportunity with your great Grandmother. I think of that often. The chances I missed. But being so young….we have no clue do we???


  8. I adored your picture you drew for this, Colleen! I also wonder about conversations that I did not have with my grandparents, sometimes due to my brothers interrupting, or keeping me busy outside. I love that you DID have a lot of conversations, one you missed, due to an inexplicable reason, is sad. But you know, to make you feel better, he may have not been much in a talking mood. I can tell this bothers you, though. And I will not lessen your feelings by telling you any more reasons why it is okay. Hugs, Robin


    • Thank you Robin. 🙂

      I think this is so strong in my thoughts right now because of the grands I have. I wonder if they will experience a moment like this with me?

      And thank you. It does feel better getting comfort from you all.


  9. Colleen, Soft smile, there is no telling what you may have missed, But my sweet friend you may not have missed a thing. Because the next time, or the time after that, or even further down the road I believe the conversations would have caught up and got back on track. For just as you had a moment I am sure he had his moments as well. Heck that day you both could have been sharing a moment by not sharing a moment. The key is that you did share moments. Take care, Bill


  10. I know how you feel. I agree with Marissa, Jen, and many, as well, I am sure he understood. Still when we are little we just do what kids do. :hugs:


    • Thanks Niaaeryn. I know if it was one of my grands I would reassure them it was okay. Just today the 4 year old and 7 year old were too busy to pay me any mind. 😉 So I do understand from both sides now. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.