Have you ever read those sayings like “No Regret,” “I don’t regret anything I’ve done. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t have done those things,” or “Regret nothing” ?

I hate those sayings.

Regret is necessary. Our regrets remind us that we are emotionally invested. We can’t be in relationships with people and never have regrets.

I’m not talking about guilt, here. I don’t think we are meant to live our lives bound by the guilt of our mistakes. We need to learn lessons from our mistakes and know we have the forgiveness and freedom to move beyond those points in our lives.

Regret reminds us to ask the questions. Did I love enough? Did I love too much? Was my anger justified? Could I have made a better choice? Could I have helped more? Should I have stayed? Should I have gone sooner? Sometimes there are not any good options, but a decision has to be made. We can spend a lifetime wondering if we made the right choice.

In an instant we can be taken back to those moments of regret. I don’t want to be told that I can’t go back to those moments and feel anger, sadness, frustration, or heartbreak. No regret means no feeling, it means it wasn’t significant enough to change me. My regrets, they changed me. Yes, they brought me here to this very moment, to the person I am today, and I regret them.

Could I have done something different? Changed the coarse that things are now on? I don’t have an answer to that. And I don’t need the heartache to be sugarcoated. I need it to just be ok that I am sad, a little overwhelmed when I think of that day.

Around 3am I got a text from my sister. She says:

“Just remember ppl how lucky u all r. It’s cold raining n thunder. Under a bridge right now near a park. u all have beds n warm houses. While I’m cold.”

There isn’t enough space in one blog post to explain everything that is going on with my sister. But, I want to tell you about a moment of regret and not because I need anyone to tell me it’s ok, and somehow I made the best decision that could have been made. Truth is nobody really knows.

My youngest sister moved in with my family about 5 years ago, soon after her 13th birthday. It wasn’t her choice. She had to move 2600 miles to be with us, away from everything she knew. She really didn’t know Ted and I very well due to our 18 year age difference. Life can be unfair and it is hard to explain those situations to children. Ted and I did our best to welcome her in our home. We loved her. She saw a counselor on a weekly basis to help her through the transition. Somedays it seemed to be working and we were all adjusting to living and doing life together. It was harder than anyone thought. Going from long distance sister to mother figure was a difficult transition for me. The emotional and physical toll it took out of our family was incredible. At the time my own children were 2 and 7. My sister, she wasn’t adjusting to our home very well. Our home was so different, like living in a foreign land, sometimes I wonder if she felt like a stranger in a foreign country. She acted out in ways that were hurting herself and beginning to hurt others.

Due to a lot of legal red tape, we were having trouble getting to where I could make all medical decisions on her behalf. We were stuck. Unable to get her the help she so desperately needed. She was angry and unwilling to compromise while we got things figured out.

The day came where I had to choose to protect my girls and my marriage from out-of-control behaviors. I had distressed over all of our options. The ones I could see anyway. With no legal authority to her care, and her counselor adamant about removing her from the home, I had to make a decision.

I called children’s services, I told them that I was going to abandon her. I don’t think they believed me. But, I suppose people who abandon children don’t call first. How do I get her the help she needs? She needed to be in the legal custody of her guardian. Her guardian was still the state where she had lived. I made the most desperate decision I have ever made.

I sat across from my sister and pleaded with her to change her mind, to show us she could try. It wasn’t going to be. The next day, my husband drove her to the airport and she flew home, alone. I called the state when she was in the air and let them know when her plane would arrive and let them know that neither of her parents would be there to pick her up.

My heart has never hurt so much. And I will always regret that day. And this morning, when I got her text, the regret rushes in. The feelings of desperation and pain and a moment wondering, “Could I have done anything else?”. Would today be different if I had made another choice? Would my sister have slept under a bridge last night? I don’t know.

I’m not spending my day consumed with guilt but I do regret and that’s ok. Because, that moment changed me. I am emotionally invested. My heart still aches and I still cry in a desperate hope for a better option.