At the age of fifty-one, I became a widower. My wife had gotten cancer and the first diagnosis gave her three to five years to live—yet it was not to be. The cancer spread quickly through her body and they shortened the outlook to eighteen months. Within six months, she passed.
To say I was devastated would be an understatement. I met Charlotte during my senior year in high school, and we were married at nineteen. For thirty-two years, we were by each other’s side, with all the successes and challenges that come with a marriage. In the end, she died a horribly painful death.
To this day, I wish I hadn’t been so busy with work that I missed a lot of time with her and our daughter.
While our life together was not perfect, it was full of love and laughter, triumphs and victories. Charlotte taught me to always look for the good in life, and her strong faith in Christ continues to be an example to me in how to live a Christian life.
I believe that death is not the end—and I also know that, to fail to live our lives with purpose can bring many regrets. As one of my mentors once said:
“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is, discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” Jim Rohn
I am thankful for the thirty-two years I had with Charlotte and all I learned from her. Looking back, I do have some regrets, because I didn’t put our relationship first at times. But overall, we had a good life together, and my regrets are few.
Now, quite a few years later, I put the things I learned from my past to good use. I remarried to a wonderful woman, and couldn’t be more thankful for our life together. I refuse to allow anything to draw me away from our relationship. I value her and our life together in a way I could not have done if I had not learned from my past. It is a good life, full of love. Do I ever look back? Only occasionally to remind myself of how extremely blessed I am in the present!
Adapted from the Uncommon Sense @ www.billabbate.com
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