The premature departure of loved ones from this earth often leaves behind these phrases. It should be like this… it could have been like that… it would have been now... I, too, have had these thoughts: It should have been Annette and me taking the kids to Zooz the other day while the guys golfed. It would have been our eighth vacation together this summer. It could’ve been such happy times. Yes, I do occasionally go down that road… *sigh*
What about what should have beens? Should we have to mourn Mom and Annette in a 13 month period? Should we have to pack up all of Mom’s stuff and Annette’s stuff? Should half of Dad and my family be gone so (in our eyes) prematurely? Should we have to go on without them? Should we have to learn to live with this pain for the rest of our lives?
But, more often, I think of the other could’ve, would’ve, should’ves. Annette could’ve died 23 years ago from cancer (Hodgkin’s) if modern medicine hadn’t cured her! (People can be so negative about cancer treatments (which I totally understand) but Annette really was an example that treatment can work. She experienced 21 years of perfect health! I am thankful for the modern medicine we have, as "flawed" as it sometimes may seem) She would’ve never traveled, became a CA, met Tom or had 2 incredible kids. We would’ve missed out on all those years of much closer relationship and love. Of a growing family that we continue to enjoy today.
But here’s what really cuts me to the core. So many penultimate could’ve, should’ve, would’ves…: I could’ve been born a Jew in WWII. I might’ve been born a child during the crusade. I would’ve been left to die or sit in an orphanage had I been born as a female in many places in the world. I could live in Darfur or Bosnia. I could be watching my children die of AIDS or starvation in Africa. I could be born to a Buddhist family in a far away country. It could go on and on. But this is not my story. I am blessed. And grateful.
And here is the definitive should have: I should be responsible for my sin. I should suffer the consequences. I should be eternally rejected and alone. But I’m not. Amazing love.
When I play the could’ve, should’ve, would’ve game, I try to keep these things in mind.