A friend and I talked about management and questions we ask in interviews. "People are never honest," she said. "I doubt anyone really is--not when they WANT the job."
"I would be," I ventured.
"Fine," she said. "But I doubt it. Ask me one of your questions and I'll show you why they aren't honest.... Honesty makes people look bad." She flashed her business-like smile and laughed. "Ask me and then I'll ask you."
"Fine, BUT you have to be completely honest."
"What's your biggest regret?" I asked, sipping my Arnold Palmer.
"Oh, crap," she said. "Okay, that I don't have enough time with my husband to do the things we love--wildlife photography. Skiing. Mountain biking. See THAT is not what an employer wants to hear." She sipped her margarita and smiled triumphantly. "They want to hear that you're a perfectionist. That you follow-through too much.... You," she pointed, half intoxicated, "what's your biggest regret."
"Wait," I realized afterward. "I don't want to answer, not honestly...."
"Elisa, you played this game."
"I don't think you want to hear it--not the honest answer. Some people have been through so much...an honest answer is uncalled for." I took another swig of my drink.
"Be honest. I can handle it."
But could I?
I breathed so deeply, knowing this would be tough. "My baby boy was so sick... Some people told me I shouldn't take him off of life support--others said I should. In the end, I made the decision after talking with the medical staff because I knew what was right for my son.... He suffocated in my damn arms, struggling to breathe. He'd been pulled from life support and after that, there wasn't a damn thing I could do to save him. It took forever, him breathing slower and slower...." Tears filled my eyes and I set my drink down. "But that's not what I regret. I gave him a chance to live. And when I knew he was suffering and wouldn't get better, that's when I let him go."
She said it so quietly. "So what do you regret, Elisa?"
"How I started listening to people around me after that. I had some family members at the time who thought I shouldn't have let him go. I started having dreams that I was a murderer; that I had killed my son. That I couldn't find him anywhere because he was supposed to be alive."
"They didn't know what you'd been through, not exactly."
"They didn't understand that freeing my son from pain, would bind me to it for the rest of my life...."
My friend had stopped drinking her margarita. She held my hand. "Oh God, Elisa. I'm so sorry."
"There's a book out about my son who died. A lady left a terrible review of it the other day, saying I should have let my son die right after he was born."
"Well that was a bit harsh," my friend said.
"Most people say I shouldn't have let him go. And here was someone with a completely different opinion. It was actually good to read in a way."
"You know you did the right thing for your little boy. I know you did--because I know YOU."
The air felt so thick around us, heavy with grief.
"Maybe you're right about the interview question thing. I wouldn't say this in an interview."
We both smiled sadly. She held up her margarita and I held up my Arnold Palmer. "To no regrets," she said.
Our glasses clinked and for some reason, I didn't feel quite so sad anymore. A friend who can share in the good and bad times--now that's someone very special.
I hope Zeke's memory will always remain dear to those who loved him in life--and now through his story, even after death. I really just want his story to be shared.... If interested, I'm giving his story (eBook) away from 2/19/18 - 2/21/18 HERE.
I'm so grateful for all of the wonderful people who have helped me stay strong. It's hard writing memoir and putting myself out there.