You know how when you were back in grade school one of your teachers gave you the assignment to interview someone: a grandparent, a military veteran, someone in a career field matching your interests.
If you actually took the assignment seriously, you learned a lot. You gained a different perspective from the interview. You respected the person on a different level.
This summer, just days before we embarked on our Epic Journey, I asked my mom if I could interview her. I wanted to ask her questions about her work in hospice nursing.
Our Epic Journey is about learning to live our lives with more purpose, more intentionality, and without regrets of dreams not passionately followed.
So many people look back upon their lives with regrets. I think those regrets are more from the things they didn’t do than from the things they did.
I sat down with mom in her backyard. I asked her about her experiences in nursing those who are within weeks, days, and just hours of death. I asked what her patients’ shared about common regrets and treasured moments.
Near the end of the interview, I took the opportunity of my captive audience and asked her about what she thought of our Epic Adventure. She’d been strangely quiet about our journey over the proceeding month. A mom with no opinions… image that.
I honestly didn’t know if she was proud of our willingness to flip our lives upside down in a passionate pursuit of fullness or if she was embarrassed and disappointed that I would be walking away from my teaching profession. I couldn’t get a good read of her opinion.
I put her on the spot, with cameras rolling, and asked her about her thoughts. Her response blindsided me. I felt guilty that we had spent the past several months excitedly preparing for our new adventure while she had been harboring fears about me dying.
She thought our Epic Journey was a bucket list completion journey. She wondered if my cancer had returned, and I was living out an adventurous summer in the shadows of pending illness, treatment, and possible demise.
In retrospect, it does make sense. However, it is not true. I wish the lines of communication flowed more freely. I wish she had voiced her concerns early on. I wish I didn’t put her through that for months. None the less, she can rest assured that we are just a crazy branch from the family tree.