My One Real Regret

If I have one regret so far in life, it’s that my journal keeping skills have been rather haphazard.

Oh, I have some in books, some on the computer, some blog post, some facebook statuses (actually, i should find a way to gather all those up – I think that would be my most comprehensive journaling to date – so sad), but nothing like I wish I had now.

I suppose, with all the things I had to do in life, writing in my journal seemed less important. Now, praying, and scripture reading, and child rearing received top billing, and rightly so. But journaling was cast by the way-side. If I was going to take the time to write, then it was going to be on my books, etc. There were so many other things to do that were so much more important than keeping a consistent journal.

I was wrong.

So very, very, wrong.

I would give anything now to have a record of Lizy’s life and my memories of her. The few I have, I cling to, afraid the memories will slip gradually from my fingers leaving me with nothing more than a gaping hole in my heart. I devour every word I have written about her, conjuring up the images of her through the years. And how I wish I had written more. SO much, much more.

Since I wasn’t big on journaling, I didn’t push it either. Oh, I gave them journals, but I only encouraged them a little, and now, I wish I had made it a bigger deal. The first thing I did was scour her room looking for anything in her own hand expressing her thoughts and feelings so I could feel close to her. I found some, but I wished for more.

It does little to lament the past. I can’t change it. I can’t make words magically appear on paper from years past, but I can learn from it and change the future.

I am going to be a devoted journal keeper. I won’t let the days slip past without writing about the wonders of the days, my feelings, the amazingness of my children.

My father has brain cancer. I think I mentioned that before. They suspect he has less than a month left and the one thing I am so grateful for is that I have a record of his life, his experiences, his adventures. Robert won’t ever meet his grandpa in person (just over skype) but he can still know him because he has faithfully kept a journal.

I want my kids, grandkids, great-grandkids to know me. I hope I never have another experience like Lizy, but I don’t want to take a chance. I want a record of their amazing lives and experiences – both from me and from them. I yearn and crave Lizy’s words and memories. I want to wrap myself in them. I miss her so very much. I am grateful I have what I have, but so disapointed I didn’t write down more.

I know I can write now, and I will, but it’s not quite the same – remembering rather than being in the moment, but it will still be something.

President Spencer W. Kimball said, “I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations. Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us and as our posterity read of our life’s experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted.”

Please, if you are inclined, learn from my mistakes. Tragedy can come when least expected. I would hope that it evades you completely, but don’t take the chance. Keep a journal. Write down everything you can about you, about your children, you family, your experiences, your adventures. I promise it will be a comfort to you if tragedy strikes and it will touch the lives of those who will read it in the future.


Filed under Child loss, Opinion, Parenting, Philosophy, Religion

14 responses to “My One Real Regret

  1. That is a very good idea. I too have been letting my journaling fall behind. I also have not been as good about getting my pictures off my computer and into a photo album that my kids can look at and talk with me about. I remember as a kid pulling out photo albums and sitting with my mom and having her tell me about the pictures in them, it made me feel closer to my own past and it helped the stories stick in my mind better.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing that. It has been forever since I have written in my journal. I’m going to go out this weekend and make sure my kids have journals. I have a binder for each child for each year that I put all their school stuff in and keepsakes. I was thinking that maybe that was just too much. Now – I realize that I need to keep them. Thank you!!

  3. Liz hall

    I was just thinking about keeping up on my journal the other day, thanks for the motivation!

  4. Susanne Robson

    I know you don’t know me but I am Catherine Bowmans little sister! I am sad to say that your tragedy has inspired me. I have always felt inadequate as a mother, but as I read your story and feel the raw emotions involved with it, I desire to become more than I am. Thankyou for your inspiring words & know that prayers have been said for your family from ours!

  5. I think it’s great that you will be journaling more. I try to get a little something in at least five days a week. I go through spurts but try my best not to go more than a few days.
    I continue to pray for you and your family =)
    In Him,

  6. When my brother died last fall, my sister in law asked my parents to share any memories they had of him. Since they are on their mission, we get a daily email from them, usually short, with a quick memory. We are amazed at all the thoughts we have of him, that start to come when we just try to write something down.

    Just start writing a thought a day about Lizzie, ask friends and parents to just write one experience they had with her. Don’t try to sum up everything at once, and I promise you will be amazed at what you will end up with…

  7. Wendy

    I’m a fairly consistent journal-er, but I don’t think I’m writing the right things. (Over the past year, my most often-written phrase is, “I am SO tired.”) Thank you for the reminder to record what’s important.

  8. Julia, you are so awesome and inspiring. I totally relate with you about journaling. I too have entries spread out between books, computer files, blogs and facebook posts. I know that someday I will absolutely cherish those memories, but I wish that I would be more consistent. Your post has really reenforced that feeling of importance for me and I have been inspired by your words. I hope that you will have inspirations from the lord to help you remember special moments with Lizzy and be able to record those moments that you haven’t yet recorded.

  9. Oh… my heart is just breaking. I feel so horrible that I haven’t visited in so long and missed being able to pray for Lizy and for your family. Our boys are growing up so fast and things for our “heart kids” have slowed down but I still update my blog here and there and when I do I check on my list of heart kids to check up and make sure they are all doing well. I am just overcome with saddness to hear about your sweet Lizy. Please know that I’m praying for your family and am so sorry for the loss of your precious daughter.

  10. Journaling is one of my loves. Thanks for reminding me why it is so important! We’re praying for y’all.

  11. mcinsane

    Exactly what I have been thinking lately. I’m journaling on my blog. It’s still not all that I should be doing, but it’s better than what I have been doing. Baby steps, right?

    I am so grateful for all the you have written. You uplift me!

  12. Julia, I was going through my blog roll and came to visit. I am so saddened to read what happened. I always love reading your posts and looking at your photos for a few years now. God Bless!

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