Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Last Kiss

"Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience." -Victoria Holt

Have you ever reflected back and realize you missed out on the last opportunity of something truly meaningful?

No, not the last donut in the dozen (otherwise that would be every weekend in my household of three children) and not filling your tank with gas before the prices raise twenty cents while you were sleeping.

I'm talking about the last opportunity that you didn't realize was the last.

This happened to me early this year when I hugged someone good-bye that at the time I didn't realize was a "good-bye."   This experience reminded me of another very important moment I have often regretted "missing."  However, recently I realized that this "moment" from the past was actually a wonderful experience.

I remember the moment so clearly.  It was the last kiss I shared with my husband, Brian.   Funny, I remember this kiss more clearly than our first kiss.  Don't get me wrong, I remember the first kiss....on the Ithaca Commons in the middle of January while all my friends were waiting for me to head back to campus.  In true upstate New York fashion, it was snowing and quite cold.   I also recall Brian gave me some lame line that I knew was a lame line at the time....he really didn't need to use a line.  I had hoped he would kiss me.  But, that wasn't the last kiss.....it was just the start of a lifetime together.

No our last kiss is so much more vivid to me.....because I didn't realize at the time I wouldn't kiss him ever again.  Perhaps this is what has caused me to replay it in my mind more often, causing such clarity....and regret for not recognizing it's importance at the time. 

Brian had been admitted unexpectedly to the hospital days earlier and he was headed off to surgery to determine what was causing his medical concerns.  This was prior to our confirmation that he had cancer.  Brian was very worried - I think he watched Paul Newman's The Verdict a few too many times - for those of you not familiar with one of Brian's favorite movies, Paul Newman's character is pursuing a malpractice lawsuit after a woman goes into a coma when going under antheshia for a surgery.  If you knew Brian well, you certainly should not be surprised that he was worried about this scene being reenacted.

Anyways, perhaps it was his worry but I was certain that I'd see him a few hours later.  The kiss was in a hallway leading into the surgical unit and he was on a gurney in a hospital gown.  Not nearly as romantic as Ithaca, NY with snow falling around us.  However, it was this kiss that I vividly remember - and it was this kiss that was filled with the sparks that reminded us both how in love we were with one another.  Not that we ever doubted our love but I think we all can agree that once life gets busy with work, kids, etc, your relationship with your spouse goes into an unplanned "holding pattern."  All the more reason to make an effort to not let this occur!

Brian survived that surgery however the news was terrible and he never left the hospital again.  There were numerous tubes, oxygen, etc. that  wouldn't allow any more than a quick peck on the cheek.

I will spare you the details of those last few days, however they were filled with both joy and sadness.  At this point, we were preparing for the end.....however, again, I still didn't realize that the kiss we shared in the hallway prior to his first surgery would be his last.

Why am I remembering this now?  My realization that I missed an ending I wasn't aware of made me wonder what other endings had I missed.

Which made me wonder....am I bad at anticipating change in my life?

Am I too optimistic?

This reflection has really peaked my sense of observation.....and I will wonder a bit more with every encounter I have.  I certainly do not take life for granted but now that I have put more thought into this, I will no longer take individual actions or encounters for granted either.

"Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience." -Victoria Holt

A new guiding principle for me.  After losing several loved ones much too young, I really don't take life too seriously.  I also realize that regret isn't necessary - it's either a wonderful life experience or it is a learning experience.  If I keep my eye's open, hopefully future experiences can be both.

Please no pity party for me......just an observation that I need to be more observant of life - and we should all appreciate the unexpected a bit more.


  1. As always thought provoking and inspiring!