But even today I feel a twinge of guilt, and this was decades ago, when my children were still babies and toddlers. Hell, the oldest hadn’t even started school. I think the youngest had just been born. I know I was still married to my first husband, that’s how long ago this was. But it was such a small thing to bring so much guilt. And for me to still remember it and still feel that twinge, that says something, because, as y’all know, I don’t live in my past. I’m forever a live in the Now kind of person. The past is the past and there’s nothing I can do to change it. But yeah, this small thing really changed me.
So anyway, the daily prompt asks us to share a time when you were overcome with guilt. and to tell explain What were the circumstances? then to share How did you overcome you guilt? So here goes.
There isn’t much to this story. It was so long ago, and it happened very quickly. Honestly, you, dear reader, might even question how such a small thing could have triggered such an avalanche of guilt, but it did, and I’m gonna share. Anyway, one day I was driving my kids to the store and I was coming to a traffic light. The light turned red, but the car in front of me went through the yellow light, and I looked down to see that he had run over a baby bird (a fledgling who was just learning to fly). The baby bird was injured and there was a parent bird frantically trying to assist it. It looked to be the mamma bird by its coloring. The injured bird was directly in front of my car and there was no way to get around it. I drove a mini van at the time, so there was no nose to the car, I could see everything in front of me. I desperately wanted to get out and move the fledgling off to the side of the road, but I could see that its injuries were just too much. But I felt so guilty just sitting there while the parent bird worked itself into a panic trying to get it to move. Besides, it was a busy intersection, and me getting out of the car could have resulted in not only me getting hurt but perhaps my kids getting hurt or other car accidents. I’m sorry, baby bird, but I weighed the consequences and they weren’t worth the risk.
In the end, the light turned green, and I sat for a moment frozen in indecision. Then I sighed, moved forward, and ran over the baby bird. The parent bird flew away as soon as my car started moving. I cried about it for days afterwards because I’d never done anything so cold hearted in my life. But what else could I have done? I couldn’t sit there at the traffic light forever. People were blasting their horns for just the moment I was there. In the time it took the light to turn from red to green, I tried to see if I could go around the birds, but I couldn’t see any way around it. There was no room for me to maneuver. The poor thing was going to die anyway from the injuries it received from the car before me. I mean, I could give all the reasons why this was the only thing I could have done… but there’s still a part of me that wishes I’d have gotten out of the car and done something to help that poor little injured bird. I can still see the parent bird hopping frantically around its child trying to get it to move. Just move.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t beat myself up over this at all. I don’t even think about it very often. Just every once in a while, whenever there’s a blue moon rising on the fifth of June, it’ll come to me and I’ll feel a twinge of guilt. I think that it resonated with me because I was going through a difficult time with my first husband , and I was trying desperately to make it all work. The fact that I call him my first husband should give y’all a clue as to how that worked out. >_< I had four kids whom I loved with all my heart but no matter what I tried, my parenting skill didn’t seem to be up to par. I sympathized with the parent bird, and I felt like the world was running me over with a big ol’ mini van. Sure, the driver of the virtual mini van felt sorry for running me over, but the fact remained that my life was falling apart around me and there was nothing I could do about it.
So that’s my small story. I never got over my guilt completely, but I don’t wallow in it. Never have. I know that everything dies eventually, but I’ve never had to just flat out kill anything like that. Well, not before that incident. I’m sorry if the writers of the prompt were looking for deep dark secrets. I don’t tell those. 😛 They’re secrets for a reason.