by Jerry Guarino
Tony had been evaluating
his life, now that he was in his late sixties.
Making a list of regrets as well as triumphs, he
thought about how his life would have been
different if he had made other choices. What if
he married that girl in South Carolina, leaving
college three months before graduation? What if
he had gotten into Columbias Journalism
School? What if he had finished that dissertation
and become a college professor? What if he stayed
married to his first wife and worked with her in
the business? There were several other
opportunities to remarry once he moved to the
west coast. Some would have been a disaster, but
He tried to justify his
choices, but he knew that all choices have
consequences, good or bad. You just have to
accept your life the way it turns out.
But where do regrets come
from? Tony sought answers in depth therapy,
through guided and eidetic imagery. After several
sessions, Tony was able to recover a deep fear
and the reason for it. He lay on the couch, eyes
closed with barely perceptible meditation music
in the background. He was in a dreamlike state of
relaxation, responding to the doctors
Tony, tell me about
that early fear.
I was two years old.
It was winter. My father was driving through a
Then the car was
spinning and falling, down a hill. There were
loud noises. My mother was screaming. When the
car stopped, my mother got into the back seat to
No, thats all I
The doctor woke Tony from
A traumatic incident
such as that can have profound psychological
effects on a toddler. And this is the first time
you remembered the car accident?
Yes doc. But what
memory might not mean anything life altering or
it could lead to other memories. Well just
have to see. But that trauma could be the reason
behind your cautious personality, not willing to
I can see that.
Whenever Im forced to make choices, I
almost always take the safe path.
Yes, that makes sense.
You like to be in control, to avoid danger. As a
child, you had no control over the car accident,
so thats why you suppressed that memory.
Tony and Heather crossed
the border from Washington State to Canada, to
recapture the romantic weekend they had last year.
It was Columbus Day weekend, Thanksgiving Day in
Canada. Heather was looking through the brochures
they kept on British Columbia.
Tony, lets go
back to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Remember
how much fun that was?
Tony remembered. A
spectacular view between Canadian mountains. 230
feet above a river and a 460-foot-long suspension
bridge. The bridge was so long that it swayed
back and forth. Tony remembered having to comfort
Heather the first time across, but she felt
better coming back.
So, Tony and Heather went
to the bridge, paid the admission fee and walked
up to the crossing. Hundreds of people, all ages
and sizes were crossing in each direction. Some
kids liked to bounce on the bridge, to make it
sway. Adults walked deliberately while looking
out and down. The view was spectacular, but not
for those with a fear of heights. Heather noticed
several people turning back, afraid of the height.
Are you all right
dear? Heather asked.
Tony was a little nervous.
I think so. Lets go.
Just dont look
The motion of the bridge
swaying and the river flowing below made Tony
dizzy. Almost halfway across, he fell to his
Other people came to his
side. A kid bounced up and down. Cmon
mister, its not scary, see?
Tony felt his pulse. It was
racing. Feel this dear.
Oh, Tony! Thats
not good. We need to go back.
I think so, dear.
Thats all right,
Heather held Tony and
helped him walk back. Once they were safe in the
rest area, Heather gave Tony a water bottle.
Here dear. Drink.
Tony felt his pulse again.
It was still fast, but not as much as on the
This is my fault. I
shouldnt have suggested it.
No Heather. I didnt
know it would be a problem, but I think I know
Remember I told you
about my depth therapy?
Well, a few months
ago, I recovered a memory of a car accident when
I was only two. My father was driving in a winter
storm and the car went down a hill and crashed.
So, this bridge
triggered a fear of heights for you?
Yes, Im sure its
Heather held Tonys
hand. Are you sorry that we came?
He smiled. No regrets
dear. Never with you.
and Regrets by Jerry Guarino
Copyright October, 2019 All Rights