There's the old "coulda, shoulda, woulda" adage of life. We all have moments of our lives that we wish we had played out differently. There are some times that are filled with more regret than others. It's life. But, that doesn't make it easier.
When I was a kid, there was this woman from our church who was active in some of the same groups as my parents. She was an Italian woman who was part of a Pre Cana group for engaged couples. She cooked for them and wore her "Signora" apron. Her husband had his matching "Signore" apron. That was my first memory of Mrs. Scotese. I was still pretty young when Mr. Scotese died, so I don't have many memories of him outside of his apron wearing.
Mrs. Scotese was a grandma, literally, but also in character and personality. She wasn't an older person toward whom I felt awkward. I would approach her without hesitation. With some of my "shyness" (read as "anxiety") it was nice to have someone who made me comfortable.
Her name was Eleanor, but to most she was, "Ellie". To me, she was Mrs. Scotese since I was a kid. My parents probably would have laid into me if I tried calling her, "Ellie". She drove a Cadillac with vanity plates that read, "Elle", if my memory is right. I can't remember the order, but one Cadillac was a burgundy color and then there was an cream color. Seeing that car parked at church brought a smile to my face.
She lived down the street from us. When she would drive by our house and I was outside, she would honk and wave. I loved that. She was also a school bus driver. Her bus route took her by our house and, again, she would honk and wave. I looked forward to it.
Then, I grew up. Then, I moved away. Then, I wasn't so good at keeping in touch and visiting. Then, we became Holiday greeting card exchangers. I would hear things here and there from my parents.
Two weeks ago, I was in Cleveland. Mostly to spend time with my parents. I thought about Mrs. Scotese. I asked them about her. She wasn't down the street at her house anymore. But, she was down the street in the other direction at Hospice. She was in her 90s and she was declining in health. I kept thinking I should head down to see her. Maybe take my dad with me. My mom was still recovering from some stuff and I figured it wouldn't be wise to bring her. Visiting kept popping into my mind, but I never did. I shoulda.
This morning, I found out she passed away. I wish I would've visited. But, I can picture her honking and waving her way out of this life.