My One Regret

My One Regret

From Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul

My One Regret

Don’t ever slam a door. You may want to go back.

Don Herold

Even though my mom and dad still loved each other, my dad’s lifestyle came between them and us. Dad always picked his friends over his family. He owned a bar, rode a Harley, and had other hobbies that I do not feel too comfortable talking about.

My mother and father had been divorced for five years when I went to live with my dad. My mom and I were not getting along. As it turned out, I spent most of my time with my twenty-six-year-old brother. My brother took me to school, picked me up and dropped me off at Dad’s house because my dad was still the same and spent all of his time either at work or with his friends.

Pretty soon, I started to miss my mom, so I wanted to move back to live at her house. My dad was really upset with me for wanting to leave, even though I hardly ever saw him. I went ahead and moved back in with my mom anyway. Three months went by without my dad and I speaking a word to each other. It didn’t really bother me too much, because my mom and I were getting along, and we had even moved into a new house. Then my whole life changed with just a single telephone call.

My ten-year-old sister and I were the only ones home when a woman called. She did not tell us what was going on, only that my mom should call when she came home.

When Mom returned a few hours later, she called and was told that my father had been in a motorcycle accident and that she needed to call the hospital. When she called the hospital they told her to contact my dad’s family. My mom became hysterical and started yelling that we were his family and that she was his ex-wife and she had his children with her. They still would not tell her anything, except to contact my brother.

I knew that we were too late. I started to cry, but then I stopped. I guess part of me just wanted to hold on to the small chance that maybe I was just overreacting. Deep down I knew that I was not, I just did not want to believe it.

All of us piled into the car and drove to my father’s house as quickly as possible. My brother was sitting outside on the picnic table with people all around. When I saw my brother sitting there, I panicked. Right then I knew that he did not have good news for us. My brother squeezed into the car and told us to drive. I can still remember the exact words my brother said—I don’t think that I will ever forget them. He said, “Kids, I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but Dad is dead.”

The next few days are still a blur. Everybody tried to act strong. I would catch my older sister locked in the bathroom crying. My younger sister would write messages in her notebook about how she wished that she still had her daddy. I think that I suffered greater than they did. My father and I never had a chance to resolve our problems. I cannot remember the last time we told each other how much we loved each other. He was mad at me when I left his house, and I never had the chance to work things out with him.

The only thing that kept me from going insane was my mother. She told me about dreams that she has had about my father. He talked to her in her dreams. He told her that he is watching over us, and that he loves all of us very much. I want to believe that with all my heart.

I often think about how things could have been different if I had just picked up the phone during those three months and broken the silence between us. I guess I just thought he’d always be there.

The greatest advice that I can give anyone is to always forgive each other—don’t let your differences linger over time. You never know what the future will hold.

Angelia Lee Swift, seventeen

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