Today’s Provocative Question, Fandango asks:
What is your biggest regret in life?
There are one or two stand-out candidates, head and shoulders above everything else.
- Fatherhood. My daughter accused me of abusing her when she was fifteen
- my stroke, six months later.
Let’s look at these. My daughter has had mental health diagnoses, I still see (from a distance) how she struggles through life. Sure, she hurt me badly, but I have seen with my own eyes, the additional effort she must expend, just to appear “normal”. I have a big, ongoing struggle with this, because she did hurt me so badly, and my natural reaction is to disengage. But, how can I regret her?
The stroke has left me disabled. I wish, of course, that things had been different. Only an idiot would volunteer to be disabled.
But because of the stroke, I got to see how our health service works. It leaves so much to be desired, it routinely fails the people to whom it bears an absolute responsibility. I will continue to preach about what is wrong, and how it can be improved, to anybody who will listen.
Same thing goes for the Benefits system. I’d never have seen that, if it weren’t for the stroke. How it traps people into undignified poverty, through no fault of their own. Something else I am happy to campaign on.
Okay, the stroke was shitty, but I am only 53. I have sufficient life in me to at least talk about these injustices. I’d have been ignorant of all of that, were it not for the stroke. Most of the time, people only find out how bad things are when it is too late to do anything about them, so with my relative youthfulness, I’m privileged.
I’m less able, but it feels like there is more to do than ever.
Again through the stroke, I got myself into voluntary work. The many stroke survivors I visited at the hospital, say. Most of the time I am sure it meant nothing, but once or twice, maybe I helped? Not to mention the dozen people who have a marginally better time each week because I have befriended them. That’s what they say, anyhow.
And I appreciate the value of that friendship. I posted the other day about the people I’ve loved. Man, I am so lucky to have known them – and, in most cases, to still know them, present tense. Those people, and the few whose identity I protected.
So, my answer is easy.