Men and women who had recently lost their spouse, following a happy and long marriage, shared some of their deepest regrets. Their reflections on how they could have been better partners are valuable for those who still have the chance.
1. No one to ask about me
“My wife used to religiously call me every evening around 6 PM to enquire about when I would be home. At the time, I found this irritating and would often quickly dismiss those calls to get back to the business at hand. It has been 6 months since I lost her to cancer, and now hours go by without anyone waiting for me to get home for dinner. I wish I could turn the clock back and get just one chance to tell her how much I appreciated those calls.” – Businessman, 62.
We take our partner’s unconditional love and time for granted and end up prioritising everything over them. Somewhere along the line we forget to appreciate all that they do for us. Take this time to let your partner know how important they are to you.
Related reading: From partners to caregivers, we did it all
2. Wasted time fighting
“My husband and I fought over many big and small things. My normal response to a disagreement would be not speaking to him for days, sleeping in the children’s room in anger, or eating complete meals in silence. I wish I had not dragged those fights into days, most of the times it was about my ego. I wish I was less stubborn.” – Homemaker, 56.
Sometimes we hold on to grudges for far longer than necessary because we tend to think we have infinite years together. And as we know, even eternity with our soul-mates is not enough. The next time there is a disagreement, think about what is more important to you and don’t let the little things cost you days with your partner.
3. What would she have wanted?
“When she passed away, I did not even know how to begin to honour her the way she would have wanted. I wish I could discuss with her where she wanted me to give her silk sarees, jewelry and precious baalis. Now that she is gone I can only guess what she would have wanted me to do with them.” – Lawyer, 71.
Even though death is inevitable, we avoid the talk about last wishes. The conversation makes us uncomfortable and we don’t like to think of a life without our partners. Hard as it may be, sit down and have the conversation, so that, when the time comes, you can carry out their last wishes.
Related reading: Too late to talk
4. Didn’t value him enough
“I was always comparing my husband to my brother-in-law and was quick to remind him of what he lacked. More often than not, I made him feel inferior and always undervalued his achievements and commitment to me. I would pick him apart for the smallest of mistakes and pushed him beyond his means to work for my affection. With him gone, I realise I have lost my strongest supporter and the one person who would have never left my side.” – Interior designer, 41.
We are quick to find fault with our spouses and fail to recognise the value of our biggest ally, and someone who would go to the moon and back for us. The next time you meet your spouse, make them feel loved and tell them how they make your life better.
For those of us who are lucky enough to still have a few more years with our loved one, let us remember their significance, and not lose sight of their worth, just because we expect them to be there forever.