After my father died fifteen years ago, I stopped speaking to the two step-sisters I had grown up with. I was terribly hurt and angry at them for many reasons. Neither of them contacted me either, so the years went by silently. I parked them in the back of my mind but it never stopped my stomach from twisting whenever I thought of them.
Many years later, I became friends with a man who shared with me that his father had been violent, abusive, and had beaten him regularly in a drunken rage. When he was an adult, before his father died, my friend took steps to reconcile with his father and carry on a renewed relationship. I was amazed by this and asked him, "How were you able to get by your past and do that?" He looked at me and smiled kindly. He said, "I didn't want to leave any dark places in my life."
I hugged him and said, "If you could do that, I certainly can too." I went home, dug up email addresses for my two step-sisters and wrote to each of them. They both wrote back immediately and warmly, graciously accepted my gesture to reconnect.
I got my two biological sisters to join us, and we all got together. Guess what? We had all grown up and changed. We reminisced about things that no one else would know about, we laughed and had a good time.
I learned why it's important to let things be as they are now and not as they once were--alive only in my mind--and now I have more precious sisters back in my life.
I've attended my fair share of funerals and have cried not so much with grief, but more so with regret. One day after confessing to my husband that I wished I had more time with my father, my grandmother, and aunts, he told me to give my flowers to the living and not the dead. So now, I attend birthday parties, I return phone calls, look up old friends and tell them all that I love them madly! No sorrows, no regrets, I give all the roses I can.