The one story of regret I never told

November 23, 2019

"In history as in human life, regret does not bring back a lost moment and a thousand years will not recover something lost in a single hour." 

For over 25 years I have shared stories of Ryan. Stories of heartbreak and sadness, sweet moments and memories and the treasure of pictures where I reminisce in the joy of his smile. But the one story I have never told, the one that has been locked down in the dark corners of my mind recently bubbled to the surface.  

It is the story behind this picture which was one of my favorite photos, the last professional photo we had taken of Ryan now tarnished as the memory of what could have been resurfaced. This photo, taken November of 1992, would come to be our last opportunity for a family picture. Ryan died three months later in February.

The image captured the innocence of their childhood and a memory of regret. Grief blanketed me in a fog, a sort of protection to help cope with the overwhelmingness of loss. As with other memories during those early days of grief, like my brother being with us in the room when we got the news, and all the dresses that Lisa had purchased for his funeral, that fight was another obscured memory.

But something happened one day, the fog lifted and slowly, like awakening from a dream, I started to remember things. Some were beautiful memories, and others the nightmares of the truth.

When I peel back the layers of our past, the juvenile actions of our youth, a story revealed itself with a heaviness that brought me to tears. This image of two children should have been a family portrait. It was supposed to be a family portrait, but time doesn't always allow us to correct the errors caused by anger. 

My husband and I had an arguement just before it was time to leave for pictures, one that today I haven't a clue was about, but an arguement that erased good judgment and allowed bruised egos to decide against a family photo shoot.

Who can you blame in these moments of reflection and does it even matter? What would more anger today change? A night that could have been a beautiful memory now echoes with all that was lost. 

An insignificant disagreement or fight that we don't even remember, revealed to us in heartache the hard truth of angers wrath and ego's destruction. 


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  • November 29, 2019 @ 6:53 AM EST
    By Phyllis Tomajko
    Beautifully written ,it really makes you think good and hard sometimes what’s more important ,thanks for sharing .
  • November 23, 2019 @ 11:14 AM EST
    By Heidi Penaherrera
    So beautifully written and a gentle reminder for all of us to not allow anger to linger and come between us and our opportunities to connect with the people we love. Thank you for sharing this story with the world. Love you my friend!

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