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“There’s Nothing You Could Have Done … But What If There Was?”

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When I wrote about the unexpected loss of my brother, Ken I mentioned that when terrible things happen, people tend to say, “It will all be okay,” but unfortunately this isn’t always true. What’s okay about a premature death? There’s no way to bring back a loved one, and that’s just not okay.

Another thing people say is “There’s nothing you could have done.” But just like saying, “It will be okay,” this isn’t necessarily true either.

When you come to a situation you can’t change, it’s only natural to look back and think, “What if?”

Maybe there really was something you could have said or done that would have changed the situation. You can rationalize away this thought or consider it a fantasy, but the bottom line is that you’ll never really know.

This isn’t to say that the situation was your fault. Of course it wasn’t your fault, but if there was something you could have done differently, aren’t you complicit in missing one of the most important obligations of your life?

The more lasting the consequences and the higher the stakes, the more you long to have done something different—and the more you wonder what that thing could have possibly been.

But you still can’t change it.

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Image: Alexander

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