Tag Archives: childhood

War, a dream thief: Part 2

The fourth interviewee was a youthful rapper. He explained to the two boys reporting what rap is, since they had never heard of it before. Rolling his jumper’s sleeves up, he explained that someone should be free and at ease. When they got the drift, he asked them if they wanted to join in and he taught them a few lines.

Much later in the interview, the rapper performed, joined by the boys, a young girl, who was also a reporter and another young man who sung the chorus. The lyrics were sad because they talked about how no one would pay attention to the music with the ongoing war. Their background only accentuated their plight. They were standing in what seemed to be the remains of what was once a huge building before it collapsed; and, one could barely see the floor beneath them as it was all covered by debris. It was an ominous scene.

The two boys visited a children’s ward in a nearby hospital. If it weren’t for the fact that the wounded occupants of the beds were manifestly young, the first impression one got was that the patients were soldiers who’d been injured during battle.

One patient was a young boy. He explained to the two young brothers that he’d undergone 13 surgeries: 11 to reconstruct his arm and 2 on his thigh. When asked whether he was afraid of airstrikes, he reflexively bended his knees, bringing them up to his chest. He said he was so scared of them that every time he heard them he would cover his ears with his hands. It’s not so hard to understand why he was so petrified… he lost his brother in one of the attacks.

Another boy showed an extensive scar right across the middle of his head, explaining that a flying shard cut him so he had to be stitched up. The scar left a hairless patch on his head. Right next to him was a girl crouched on her wheel chair. She couldn’t walk because her leg was in a cast. Furthermore, she stretched her hand, revealing a missing finger. My heart ached…

As I looked at those children, all I could see was helplessness… how callous the world could be. These were fledgling human beings, who had so much potential… but all their dreams seemed to be going up in smoke… they were not even assured of seeing the next minute, with the constant airstrikes.

The boys’ next stop was a refugee camp. People there were living in very unsanitary conditions after being left homeless by the airstrikes. The children there were not even going to school. It was horrible. Bad as the situation was in Yemen generally, the two brothers realised they were living in much better conditions because they still had a home.

A four year old girl was the last interviewee. She was seated on a swing that was suspended on a tree branch. She was alone, looking so forlorn, which is not typical of a child who’s out playing. The two young brothers were in the company of a girl, who I imagined couldn’t be older than ten. She carried a big beige teddy bear under her arm.

When they got to the little girl, the older girl gave her the teddy bear, just to pep her up. Her interview tugged at my heart strings most. When asked where she lived, she pointed her finger toward the direction of a pile of rubble. Every one of her family members had been killed in the missile attack.

Hidden War in Yemen

She took the three reporters to the debris, showing them what were once her mom’s clothes and cooking pots. One got the feeling she was still trying to comprehend what had happened. Though she was not crying, she seemed robotic, which was very ‘unchildlike’… the war had done that to her.

When asked whether she had anyone to play with, she shook her head, saying she had been waiting for her little brother to grow up. She explained his baby brother had also been killed. The reporters, curious to know how she had survived, she explained to them that she had been out there on the same swing when the missile hit their house. That’s how she narrowly escaped.

She further explained that before her dad died, she heard him calling out, “Nadia”. That was her mom. After everything had calmed down, she went to check what had happened and she saw her mom’s hand dangling from the debris. I was moved to tears.

This four year old girl had, in her very short life, been through what most people only see in horror movies. Her uncle had taken her in… however, after such a traumatic ordeal, I can almost bet life will never be the same for her, no matter how much love and comfort her uncle affords her.

In my very humble opinion, no person, leave alone a child, should have to go through such a traumatic experience, especially taking into consideration that the situation could be avoided. The war in Yemen is not a natural disaster that cannot be prevented.

Most of us take peace for granted. We go to bed at night and wake up to the beautiful sound of birds chirping… however, what I saw in that documentary made me realise that peace is a blessing. The people in Yemen barely sleep, and when they do, they are woken up by deafening explosions. Some never make it out of their houses alive…

When I’m feeling down, the hope of achieving my dreams keeps me psyched up and I get the strength to push on. So it was heart-wrenching to see so many dreams go up in smoke… people were not feeling motivated enough to do things that made them happy, because just as the satirical writer said, it was impossible to be happy when they were surrounded by death.

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War, a dream thief: Part 1

Children should be given the space to grow; and playing is a huge part of that. Additionally, as they grow up, they should be encouraged to dream; because truth is, a child can be anything they set their hearts and minds on. This is what every child requires… an environment where their dreams are nurtured.

But imagine this: a world where a child is happily riding on his bike, and as he enjoys the cool breeze on his face, a missile hits a nearby building, sending shards of glasses into the air. Some shards fly right into his head, injuring him severely.

In pain and panicking, the child cycles back home, trying to save dear life. He’s almost out of breath…When he gets back home, he finds a pile of debris where their beautiful home once stood. Death is in the air… Horror-struck, he jumps off his bike rushing towards the rubble… hoping to find at least a family member… but as he slowly realises, when the house caved in, it came down on everyone who was inside, killing them all. He’s all alone now, in the big scary world…

Sounds horrifying, right? Well there’s this documentary I watched on Deutcshe Welle News last week. It was highlighting the plight of civilians in Yemen, and their experiences were harrowing. It had me thinking, most of the time we take peace for granted…

In the documentary, the reporters were two young boys, possibly around the ages of ten and seven. They were interviewing some people, asking them if they wanted to send a video message to the European Union, to request them to help avert the war in Yemen.

War in yemen

The first interviewee was a woman, branded “Miss War”. When asked about the origin of her name, she explained that there’s usually a photo of her where she’s carrying a bundle of firewood on her head, holding it in place with one hand. In the other hand she’s seen holding a yellow water jerrycan. She depicted the resilience of the Yemeni woman.

The second interviewee was a satirical writer, who said he doesn’t write anymore because it is hard to make jokes when people are surrounded by death. His young son, who seemed six or seven joined him. The two young reporters asked him if he was afraid of the constant bombings, and he said he was not afraid anymore, explaining that where they used to live before was far much worse. So now he’s sort of used to it.

The dad explained further that he has a bike, which he rides even when there are ongoing bomb blasts. Whilst admiring the boy’s courage, I couldn’t help pitying him; he’s gotten accustomed to the feeling of imminent death, that could rob him of his family and everything else he holds dear; including his own life.

That reminded me how much I hated watching news when I was a child, because they brought stories of various places ravaged by war… and that was just too much grief for my fragile mind to absorb. Sadly, these children were living in the actual war, their surroundings, so macabre… and they couldn’t escape it…

In his video message to the EU, the satirical writer was filmed dribbling a football. He said that in Yemen there are good people who’ve been caught up in the war and who are losing their lives every day. Furthermore, he said that Yemen is made up of three things: people, earth and history… But with the ongoing war, it’s losing all of the three and if the war doesn’t cease, there will be nothing left.

The person taking the video panned their surrounding; there were many collapsed buildings around them, plus there was this massive hole on one part of the tarmacked road. The scene seemed like it was cut from an Avengers movie, where the city’s destroyed after a gruelling battle between the superheroes and an almost invincible villain of the piece.

The satirical writer further said that Yemen needed theatres and stadiums. These to him were uniting factors, where people could come together and have fun instead of turning against each other. Asked, by the two young reporters what the cause of the war was, he said no one knew exactly. Even the attackers did not know why they were slaying people.

The third interviewee was a female painter. Most of her paintings were images of the bombings and their casualties. One of them was an eleven year old girl. She was lying on the ground, dead. The painter explained to the two boys that the young girl was heading to school, where she had an exam at eight, when a missile hit a nearby building. Some flying shard hit her, injuring her fatally.

My heart bled for that young girl… maybe she was nervous about having to sit an exam, but at the back of her head, she was encouraged by the thought that she was edging closer to achieving her dreams… she could have been anything she wanted to be…but just like that, her life was ended prematurely. And worst part is, the one who fired that missile might never even know what they did… they killed an innocent child…to them, she’ll just be part of the huge, unidentified collateral damage.

 

Fatherless child: Part 2

A week ago my big sis had a dental surgery. Dad drove her to the hospital, albeit reluctantly. He didn’t know what went in there but mom, who was with her the entire time came home distraught. She likened her experience to what Mother Mary must have gone through when she saw Jesus being tortured during His Passion; a mother’s pain when she sees her child suffering and can do nada about it.

When dad travelled out of town for work, he left her on an entirely liquid diet and he never called even once to find out how she was doing. He had her cancel her review appointment, knowing that the particular surgeon is only available once a week, so now she’s waiting for tomorrow’s appointment, which he still intimated she should cancel. All this while I’ve been thinking, if he cared even the slightest bit, he would have feigned some concern. That way we would never have known how much he detests us.

In very blunt words, dad has been the bane of our lives. The way I see it, he hates to see us happy. When he gets the impression we’re happy he does something to sabotage it. So if someone asked how it feels to have a father, I may not have anything positive to say about it.

Last Saturday he came home drunk as usual, and started complaining to mom how my small sis had told him he wasn’t her father.

“Mom, let’s find another dad,” he said, mimicking my small sister’s voice when she was younger. I was actually surprised because I didn’t know he had heard that years ago. Those are words my small sis said when she was around five, and now it’s years later. When she said that, she did it innocently because she had seen how happy other kids looked when they were with their dads, yet with us, the only thing we felt was misery.

He let us go hungry when he had money stashed in his bank account; spent nights outside drinking away… he made us know how it feels to live in a house where parents fight, physically, and as mom was the weaker of the two she always ended up hurt.

When I heard him mimicking my sister, I couldn’t help but think, if he heard that years ago, how come he never made an attempt to change? A good parent would have been concerned why their five year old daughter was saying such a thing. Instead, he only became more brutal, as if trying to emphasize the point. He didn’t seem to care what we felt/thought about him.

“Go find yourselves another dad,” he barked. “You think dads are bought in the supermarket. I’m leaving,” he told mom before walking out to go back to the bar, even though he was already drunk. “Let me know when you find another dad.” With that he left, and he came back the next day.

I know this might sound wrong, but honestly, I have more than enough reasons to believe that there are children who grew up fatherless, for whatever reasons, and have led happier lives than my sisters and I. Every time I picture myself raising my children in a home like the one I’ve grown up in-God forbid-I shiver, and I usually find myself thinking that it’s better to not have a family in the first place, because reliving this would be an absolute nightmare. I wouldn’t even imagine putting my kids through what I’ve been through myself.

When I was a child, I had a dream; that my dad would change and be a better man. Now I’m all grown up and almost moving out, and that dream didn’t come true. Sometimes, no, most of the times I fear that once I walk out of that door, I’ll lose his number and sever all possible ties I have with him. I’m afraid that one of the things I desperately want is to change my surname, because it constantly reminds me that he is my father.

Point is, I did grow up with my father. But if that has added any value to my life? I’m not sure. All I know is, I don’t want to be anything like him. When I get my own adorable children, God willing, I want to be everything he’s not; loving, caring, forgiving, empathetic…

There may be someone ‘fatherless’ out there who feels their lives would have turned out better if they had a dad; but take it from me; the grass is not always greener on the other side. For all I know, there are many children who grew up not knowing their fathers but who had very happy childhoods. Because at the end of the day it’s not about someone merely associating themselves with a father figure, but about what role that ‘figure’ plays in someone’s life. To some they are a blessing; and to others a curse. That’s just how life is.

 

 

Too much parent involvement?

controlling parents

Every sane/loving parent out there wants the best for their kids; that of course leaves out all the perverted parents, who shamelessly molest their children and do other ungodly stuff to them. For this reason, some parents will go to the ends of the earth to ensure their children get the best in life. In the process though, some of the things this loving or controlling parents do feel a bit extreme.

Personally I feel some of the things done would be best left undone; you know, because in the end it will be in the kids’ best interests. So, I beg to ask, how much is too much?

In some previous posts I have mentioned this aunt of mine, whose mom was so protective because she didn’t want her daughter marrying into a poor family. My aunt fell in love while in college and from that love an innocent boy was born.

My aunt’s mother-my grandma-was obviously none too pleased. I’m thinking she envisaged her daughter’s bright future go up in flames, and as she couldn’t let that happen, she took the small boy in her care so my aunt could go back to school.

I wasn’t born at the time so whatever I know about the particular story, I gathered from different family members. The story, as it turns out, is an open secret, which everyone is too scared to talk about because many people stand to suffer if it was to be discussed openly, for reasons I’ll be revealing in the subsequent paragraphs.

I do not have the full details about what happened back then, but what I am sure of, is that the boy who was born thirty something years ago is now a fully grown man. Problem is, no one took the liberty to undo the mistake that was committed when he was born.

When grandma took him, his mom went back to school. So he grew up thinking our grandma was his mom. Due to our strained relationship with our grandma, my sisters and I only got to meet him when he was in his late teens. Given that he is older than us, he comfortably thinks he is dad’s youngest brother, and the woman he thinks is his sister is actually his mom.

After having his son raised by her mom, my aunt later found another guy and she gave birth to a baby girl, who is only a few months older than me. She grew up knowing she was an only child, and it’s not until a few years ago that some cousins maliciously insinuated she had a brother during a get-together.

The way I see it, my cousin now knows she has a brother, but she can’t ask anyone since no one is brave enough to tell it straight to her. Slyly, she tries to get someone to slip up and say it but when we’re around her we try to bite our tongues so we don’t get openly ostracized by the concerned parties for releasing those old skeletons from the closet.

Since I found out ‘my uncle’ and my cousin were actually siblings, I always wonder how it will end. I’m imagining grandma wanted the best for her daughter and that’s why she took her son and raised him as her own. But was that really the best thing to do? I know there are many people out there who have done the same thing and it all turned out fine for everyone. However, I can’t say the same for my aunt.

For starters, my cousin grew up alone and I always got the impression she was very unhappy. During holidays her mom would take her to some relatives’ and as much as one would be tempted to think that was a cool thing, I would totally beg to differ. Her visits felt imposed so they were never that fun. Christmas holidays were some of the worst because essentially they are a time when family members spend together, yet on most occasions she was away from her mom.

Given that her mom was a single mother, I could only think of so many reasons why a child would feel alone and neglected. I doubt my cousin ever had fun. From my perspective, she would have been happier if she had her brother with her to keep her company.

Looking at my aunt, I wouldn’t really say her mom’s idea to keep her son worked for her. She never remarried, and from how I see her, she’s far from happy. Chances are she would have been happier if she kept her son and her baby daddy, who was poor at the time but is now rich. That’s why her mom didn’t want him for her in the first place; he was poor.

If you ask me, my grandma’s attempt to help her daughter only complicated her life. She hoped to fix her life, but instead, now she has everyone walking on egg shells because no one would want to be the one spilling those beans. My cousin had a dull childhood, with her own brother regarding her as his niece. There’s really nothing good about that.

It feels like a complex soap, where deep, dark secrets are revealed towards the end of the story. In this case I’m wondering who will be brave enough to set the record straight. Who will pull down those façades? And when they come down, who will undo the pain caused?

An encounter with my younger self

If you met up with your younger self, say in another dimension, what would you tell him/her? Like in the Disney movie: The Kid, starring Bruce Willis, where his persona-Russ Duritz, a highly sought after image consultant, meets his younger self, Rusty Duritz, played by Spencer Breslin.

In the movie, Russ is impolite and has a very strained relationship with his father. Then he meets Rusty, who asks him if he is already become a pilot, if he has a dog named Chester and if he’s already married, to which he replies no. He tells young Rusty that he can’t be able to handle dogs because of his constant travelling, and he is not a pilot but an image consultant and he doesn’t have a wife yet. Rusty tells him he dislikes his future.

When Russ’ assistant, Amy, meets the young boy she sees so many similarities with the two so she assumes Rusty is Russ’ son but later they tell her the truth. Russ mocks Rusty because of his weight and he finds him a bother, ever afraid that the boy will embarrass him. However, Amy likes Rusty and tells Russ he should try to learn more from him.

Russ finally decides to make time for Rusty, deciding it was time he learned why the young boy is there and if there’s something he needs to fix from his past. He recalls a fight he had on his birthday and that takes them back in time. Rusty has a fight in school where he was being bullied but because Russ had taught him how to ward off bullies, Rusty wins the fight.

Afterwards they go back home, where Russ meets his embittered dad, who admonishes Rusty, manhandling him and the boy starts crying. Russ comforts him, telling him that his dad was only scared because his mom was dying and he was afraid of raising a young boy alone.

They then go to a diner, where they talk about the fight earlier; how Rusty beat the bullies and they congratulate each other. While they are still talking a dog walks up to Rusty and they hear an older Russ call the dog Chester. They both run out and find he has a red plane. Rusty and Russ learn that in late middle age they will become a pilot, have a dog and marry Amy, who will be the mother of their children. Excited, they realize they both changed the future, after which old Russ and Rusty return to their own time.

That’s just a fictional story, but today when I woke up, right before I said my morning prayers, I wondered what I would tell my younger self, teenage Aly, to be precise. Because the things I did/didn’t do as a child somehow shaped my life into what it is today. That’s how I remembered the movie.

As a child I was just introverted, never divulging much. Everyone who knew me branded me ‘the quiet one’. When I wasn’t being ‘quiet’ I had very violent outbursts. Even teachers and fellow students in school knew I was a walking time bomb. As I got into teenage hood, I started experiencing panic attacks and since then, they have always been with me and honestly, there’s nothing pleasant about it.

For the better part of my teenage years, I spent most of my life in and out of hospitals, getting treated for anxiety-related illnesses. If I knew what I know now, chances are I would have sailed happily through teenage hood.

From how I decipher it, all those times I spent in solitude gave me so much time to analyse everything, the good and the bad in depth. I wasn’t talking much, so whenever I had anything troubling me, I internalized it and from that stemmed a deep sitted fear, which eventually morphed into an anxiety disorder.

Most of my thoughts and my perspective of things in general leaned towards pessimism. Because of that, I found myself battling constantly with a racing heart and frantic thoughts…it was chaotic inside; I was always feeling restless. Sometimes I wished my body wasn’t mine, just so I could enjoy some peace of mind, some tranquillity, even if for just a short while.

When I was away in boarding school I would always wonder how mom was doing; if dad was hurting her, and when I went back home during the holidays the situation at home didn’t help either. Mom and dad would be caught up in regular fights. For someone struggling with anxiety issues, that only aggravated my disorder.

If I met my younger self, I would tell her not to worry too much. Parents fight sometimes but it doesn’t always mean they hate each other or they will kill each other. Sometimes I look at my parents and I get the impression they love each other a lot, it’s only that sometimes they seem to have so many conflicting interests.

I would also ask my younger self to go out more and interact with people. This is because I feel I spent too much time alone, mulling over things and that’s how I always managed to get so anxious. It is indeed true that a problem shared is a problem halved.

Most importantly, I would remind her she is not alone. I would tell her that God is always watching over her and even though she may feel things are not going the way she expects, He only wishes the best for her. I would ask her to trust Him more, and to live in the moment, taking one day at a time, without worrying about the future.

Unhappily ever after…

cinderella

Cinderella lived happily ever after with the charming prince who wouldn’t rest until he found the maiden whose foot fit in the glass slipper. Sleeping beauty had a happily ever after with the handsome prince who wandered by and found the sleeping maiden, thus pressing his lips against her hand to wake her from a century’s slumber. Fairytales… the lies they fill children’s heads with…

I can only think of so many fairytales I read as a child that ended with, ‘and they lived happily ever after’. Then again, that’s why we call them fairytales; happily-ever-afters are only as real as fairies are. It hasn’t escaped me that I would be ruthlessly bursting the bubble of any kid, who stumbles on this post but sadly, I only speak what is true.

Almost all the fairy tales I read as a child, all the cartoons I watched/still watch, like a recent edition of Rapunzel (tangled) I watched lately where the girl with shiny metres of gold locks finds her happily-ever-after with the thug who saves her from the lone tower she had been imprisoned in by her witchy stepmother, led me to believe in a happily-ever-after.

Then later as I got into teenagehood I developed a strong liking for soap operas, which graduated into an addiction. These soaps revolve around love and deception as the main themes, and somehow almost all of them end with the main female and male protagonist together, in their own happily ever after.

As my sisters and I got glued to the TV, watching soap after soap, dad never understood why we wasted so much time following programmes, which in his opinion, enslaved us because when they started we had to drop whatever we were doing just so we could watch them. He just never did understand why, and after trying to explain it to him unsuccessfully we gave up trying.

The reason we spent so much watching them was because they gave us something to hold on to. Even when stuck in meaningless relationships with guys who weren’t willing to commit, the knights in shining armour from the numerous fairy tales we’d read and the Alejandros from Latino soaps kept us hopeful that the best was yet to come.

Regrettably, as I look at the life mom leads, I feel the little flame in me going out, and I’m not sure there’s much I can do to rekindle it. I look at her life and I see unhappily ever after. She spends sleepless nights, tossing and turning in bed because the man she chose to spend the rest of her life with, in what she hoped would be marital bliss is the same one who locks the light out of her life.

unhappily ever after

What does one do, when they wake up and realize everything they believed in was just a lie? When they realize that the person they hoped to enjoy a happily-ever-after with is the same one they can’t stand? When one realizes that a happily-ever-after is only a figment of the imagination concocted by creative writers, in a bid to spread optimism.

Valentine’s day is only a few days away and even though there’s a part of me-the child in me-that still believes in prince charming, fairies and pixie dust, I feel a happily-ever-after is like the sighting of a lake of water by a weary traveller walking under the blistering sun on stretching miles of bare, scorched ground; just a mirage in the desert.

Happily-ever-after could be real, but it’s a rare gem. How do I know that? Because I haven’t met anyone who lives happily-ever-after. Once that marriage band is slipped on the finger, people stop pretending and resume their real insufferable selves. They become everything one detests-in most cases. It’s like the ring snaps couples out of hypnosis; the promise of happily-ever-after, pulling them back out of their daydream, reminding them, that is when unhappily-ever-after begins.

In my opinion though, a happily-ever-after is not entirely impossible. I think of a personal resolution; if one wants something really bad, they will get it. There will be odds lined up, succeeding each other along the way, but if both partners crave a happily-ever-after, they will achieve it. Mom’s living her unhappily-ever-after, but from my own observation, if her prince-my father-tried just a little bit hard, they would find that coveted fairytale ending; the happily-ever-after.

Of sugar and old memories

make someone happy2

Yesterday I served mom a cup of hot tea. It wasn’t exactly oversweet, but it had more sugar than she usually takes.

“You’ve put too much sugar,” she told me, in between sips.

“I know,” I smiled. “Just thought today you should have a sweet cup of tea.” I didn’t tell her, but I didn’t do it intentionally. Sometimes she craves lots of sugar and sometimes she could take her tea sugarless; I just put what I thought was her preferred amount. Turns out I was wrong.

“You do know I don’t take much sugar, don’t you?” She looked at me, setting the cup back on the table.

“Yeah, I know. I don’t either.” She didn’t say anything, but she  focused her gaze on me, urging me to continue. “Nowadays I don’t like my tea with too much sugar.” I didn’t believe I was the one uttering those words. It took me years back; when I was a kid, sugar was my best sin. If I had to confess to something, it would be for taking spoonfuls of sugar without mom’s permission. If I found myself alone in the kitchen, without any adult supervision, I would indulge in my forbidden pastime-eating sugar.

Once, mom and dad took my small sister for a dentist’s appointment. I was left in the house alone with my big sister. With the cats away, I decided to do what I did best in my parent’s absence; eating sugar or whatever sweet thing I could get my hands on. That Saturday I was still seated at the table having my breakfast. Without a second thought I reached for the honey jar, helping myself to a generous amount.

The next day I woke up with very painful tonsillitis. That was the last day I ate plain honey.

“People start craving sweet things when they start aging,” mom said, pulling me out of my musings. “Don’t you remember how my mom used to like sweet things?”

“I do remember.”

“She always wanted to have lots of sugar in her tea.” I looked at her. There was a forlorn look on her face; her mind had drifted off to the past; back to when her mom was still with us. It has been a few months since grams passed away and mom is still trying to come to terms with it. It hasn’t been the easiest thing for her. “I wish I’d let her take all the sugar she wanted.”

I realized she was saying that in remorse. At the time she wouldn’t let grams eat anything unhealthy, but now that she was gone, she regretted not allowing her to indulge in the things she craved, however minute; things that would have made her happy. It’s like in a way she felt that would have made grams’ life better during the time she was alive; it would have made her days pleasant.

“That wouldn’t have worked,” I comforted her, “because then she would have contracted some other illness and that would have killed her still.” She only nodded in agreement.

That short conversation gave me lots to think about. Mom felt guilty for not letting grams have the small things she desired-sugar to be precise. Now that grams was already gone, she imagined allowing her to satiate some of her cravings would have made her happier.

That’s how it is with us humans; we regret things we did/n’t do for the people we love when they aren’t with us anymore; a person realizes they could have treated their partner better when the relationship is no more…

It reminded me of one thing; to cherish those people in our lives. To remember they will not always be with us; because if we keep that in mind we will know what to do to make them happy. It may be something silly or unimportant, but whatever it is, if it makes them happy, give it to them, provided it doesn’t send them to an early grave.