I believe in regret.

Nicole - Hampton, Virginia
Entered on December 2, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

The night that my grandfather was admitted into the hospital I was spending the night with my friend. My dad said that my grandpa was fine, but he would come pick me up if I wanted to see him. I decided not to go, because I was having a lot of fun, and my dad said that my grandpa was okay.

The hospital kept him in CCU for three days; everyone kept saying that he was okay so I still didn’t go visit him. After an abundance of tests he was diagnosed with an upper gastric problem and released on Sunday morning. Just to be sure the doctors didn’t miss anything, they scheduled him for an outpatient nuclear stress test on Monday morning.

On Monday morning my grandpa missed his stress test and had to reschedule it. He went to work all day and then that night, while asleep; he died of a massive heart attack.

I remember the day that he died like it was yesterday. It was Tuesday morning and my dad answered the phone, dropped it, and ran out the front door. His truck went skidding out of the driveway and I knew right then that something terrible had happened.

My maternal grandmother picked me up from school and the entire way to my grandparent’s house I tried to think about good, happy things, trying to avoid the obvious. When we got to the house, my dad met my sister and I with sad eyes and quivering lips and said “We need to talk.” I realized right then that I had lost the most loving, happy, hardworking man in my life and the decision to stay at my friend’s house that night was going to haunt me for the rest of my life.

I felt miserable when my grandfather passed away. That feeling of a knot in my throat wasn’t just because he died, but because I regretted not going to see him in the hospital. I promised myself to never feel that way again, and since then, I have never missed visiting a loved one in the hospital.

My maternal grandfather goes to the emergency room often because he has trouble walking and falls and hurts himself. I used to take these periodic visits to the emergency room lightly, but now I don’t want to take a chance in losing him without getting to see him. As a result, I have become closer than ever with my remaining grandfather.

When my boyfriend’s mother had anxiety attacks, the habit of going to the hospital made me go visit her. By me going to the emergency room our relationship grew, and it seemed like it brought up her spirits.

Believing in the power of regret has given me the strength to know that life isn’t always fair. Knowing that being there for the ones I love when life gets tough can help make life happier and easier for everyone.