Most of us are familiar with the common regret of those who are at the end of their lives. They don’t worry so much about what they did as much as what they didn’t do. It’s the living with regret that seems to haunt the dying. We don’t take the time to reflect on what we haven’t done because, quite frankly, we’re just so busy doing.
Before I lost my husband to heart failure we had often talked about traveling to Italy. One of my biggest regrets is that we never got there. Tony was ready to travel but I worried about all kinds of things: the cost, the children’s care, the time off from work, the language barrier. I never made it a priority. What I wouldn’t give to take those years back and travel with him to Italy.
Tony’s father’s family was from Lama Dei Peligni in Abruzzo, Italy and his mother was born in Casoli, a town 30 minutes down the road from Lama. When Tony was returning from Africa after his Peace Corps tour he traveled to Casoli, found his family, and slept in the bed where his mother had been born.
Nine months after Tony’s passing our son asked me if I wanted to join him on a trip to Italy. He had been studying Italian and would be visiting some of his customer’s wineries. Let’s combine business with pleasure, he said. There are reasons why I could have said no. I was still grieving, it would be expensive, I was already traveling between the east and west coasts, alternately taking care of my mother and grandson. But I didn’t hesitate. I said yes!
This picture shows our son standing in the center of Lama Dei Peligni and looking out over the beautiful landscape. We visited, Casoli, too, and many other Italian towns. In many ways it was a spiritual experience. We both felt the connection to Tony while we were there. The last time my son and I traveled together he was with me on a business trip when he was just 12 years old. What an opportunity it was to travel with my adult son. I’ve learned to live without regret.