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Chain of Regrets

ChainBy Cathy Jameson

I keep getting it wrong, so I keep asking my daughter.  “What was the name of the thing?  The thing you did for Literature class?” 

“It was the Chain of Regrets," she tells me for the fifteenth time this week. 

“Oh, yes.  Thanks.  I keep forgetting,” I sheepishly reply.  Having never heard of that phrase, I learned that it came from a lesson her Literature teacher was presenting while reading a book by Charles Dickens.  I trudged through only one Dickens’ book as a young teen, Oliver Twist, but was familiar with the story my daughter was reading for class.  They’ve acted out scenes of A Christmas Carol, even wearing a large paper chain to bring the story alive. 

“You are fettered," said Scrooge, trembling. "Tell me why?"

"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”

Link by link, and yard by yard.  Oof.  What a heavy weight to bear. 

I could probably drop some of the heavy weight I’m carrying around.  I have a lot going on, not just because of the time of year, but because of juggling life in general.  Being mom to many makes life super interesting and super busy.  With the Christmas season about to begin, I’m in overdrive.  I'd promised to do a better job of keeping our focus on Advent this year, but the Advent season has been a blur.  I hate that I’ve rushed through it and even skipped over parts of it.  If I’m counting them, that’s probably Regret #257. 


I think we all have them:  Not taking an opportunity.  Ignoring a nagging feeling.  Walking away from something we later discover would've been a blessing.

Regrets can nag. 

They can linger.  They can cause awful feelings to surface.  I think sometimes, though, it’s okay to have felt them.  With regrets, we learn valuable life lessons.  Without them, we may make the same mistake twice, or even multiple times. 

Some of my latest regrets are about me.  When do I take time to take care of me?  Promising I’ll get to my stuff after I take care of everyone else, I never do.  Instead, I automatically take me off of my To Do list in an attempt to attack everything else.  Other regrets resurface during my most busy times of the day like letting Ronan get too settled in leisure activities – he loves his movies.  He loves his music.  He does not love doing his lessons or engaging in what the siblings want or ask him to.  So I let his preferred activities last a little longer.  In doing that, I might get a few extra minutes to catch up on some things – dishes, sorting through important mail I’ve left sitting on the counter, or folding laundry that has a habit of piling up.  At the end of the evening, when I can finally catch a break, I will see that I didn’t get to some things that I wanted to do for me.  Too tired at that point to do much about that, I literally fall into bed.  Unable to do more than mumble some prayers, I drift off to sleep praying that I’ll be able to catch up with life, and with unfinished household chores and maybe with that pile of important mail, the next day.    

Another latest regret started to eat away at me several months ago.  Could we get Ronan into a therapy we looked into but never started?  Sure.  But it would take lots of time.  Time I don’t have.  It would take some money.  Money I didn’t want to spend.  It would take juggling an already full and exhausting schedule, a schedule that includes Ronan’s siblings.  Even though they are getting older and more independent, they were beginning to need me more and more this year.  Can I balance them and their needs while revisiting something I confidently declined to schedule for their brother before?  

Maybe I could?

When I heard from the scheduler that the next available dates Ronan could be seen happened to fall on two date that I had absolutely nothing scheduled spoke volumes to me. 

I had to say yes. 

The burden to do it all – for Ronan, for my typical kids, for me – will still be heavy.  But if I don’t give Ronan the opportunity to try, try again I know I’ll regret it.  The kids even said they’d regret not giving their brother the chance to do something potentially positive.  So, this week, we are going to try something that’s only been an idea.  I’ve told myself I won't know if it's the right step if I don't take that first step forward and then take the next one after that.  We ask him to do that frequently. 

Try this, Ronan. 

But he fails… 

…which gives us a chance to rally together. 

Hey, bud.  Let's try it again. 

Success, for him, is measured in tiny increments.  That success is celebrated instantly and fuels the reason to take a second step forward.  It gives all of us such joy to see.  It gives me the courage to think outside the box again and to rearrange life one more time to fit one more thing in.  I’m excited for the possibility to do one more thing for my son.  Even so, because of past experiences, I have some lingering doubts:  It may help him.  It may not.  It may serve him and us well.  But I won’t know – we won’t know – until we try. 

Like other parents, of both typical children and of children with special needs, I have done or said things that I wish I could take back.  My Chain of Regret would be out the door and down the street if I wanted to write them all down.  But this week, I’m choosing to focus on possibilities instead.  With Christmas just around the corner, this could’ve been the worst week ever to schedule something new to do.  School’s out, though, and we have nothing else to run to.  It’s actually the perfect week ever.  So I’ll hope for some Christmas blessings instead of dwelling on ‘what could’ve beens’ and ‘what should’ve beens’.  Life’s a little better when I remember to pull myself out of the past and look hopefully to the future.  And should we find the tiniest bit of success as we forge ahead, you’ll be some of the first to know how things went.   

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.


Jeannette Bishop

Thanks, Cathy.

I made it a Christmas tradition (I don't think I'll be able to keep this year) to read A Christmas Carol.

I do hang onto many regrets even though my head tells me I might be more effective if I could figure out how not to. I really think metal toxicity interferes with getting over things, ironically. I also think maybe I'm afraid to not have the motivation of regret keeping me trying. With the first if-I-just-hadn't-made-that-mistake, I'm now personally pretty sure others would have made sure the mistake happened anyway, and I have reason to think my efforts prevented other regressions, even if few brought her life forward.

But, I still regret every failure and the fallout, from not having courage when needed to giving up and wasting time too often., ...but I'm also aware I owe a debt of gratitude for posts like this that have kept me trying through their inspiration.

Prayers you will find blessings in your efforts this week!


I just love that part of the Christmas Carol. and how much Scrooge has added to his link in just a few Christmases.

Cathy so very much what I am feeling right now too.

Bully Gates













"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”


Tasha Cobbs - Break Every Chain (Lyrics)

Galatians 5:1 - Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Corinthians 3:17 - Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. John 8:32 - And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:36 - If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

L land

Thank you
It has been a week of regrets and links in the chain
Muppet Christmas Carol has a ‘great’ visual for that

Bully Gates


Do I love God, or do I love an ungodly nation?

Everyone needs to see this.

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