‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’

If you are unfamiliar with the song I have borrowed for the title of this post, the paraphrased story is: no regrets, not one, not for the joys or the pain, I have swept away my love stories, lit the fire with my past, because my life, my joys today they begin with you… It’s a lovely sentiment but its just not true though, is it? We like to think with a new relationship or a change within a relationship that this would be the case but we always have some things, negative or pleasurable, in the back of our mind that like an old photo album or playlist (or mix tape for those of us who remember) we pull out, dust off and reminiscence over. Be they good or bad, but to light the fire with them and banish them forever? Partially perhaps but not entirely.

This song holds special meaning for me. When I first committed to my man (fast becoming my Sir) I had many regrets. Prior to this I had to choose between two very different men. Both passionate, gorgeous men that challenged and excited me. One I would have the opportunity to make a family with, be challenged sexually and lead an exciting life full of creative pursuits but in another town. With the other no more children but a family with his children and their children (he a young Dad and his daughter a young mum) in the same town and to dance and grow in Tango together. I chose to have neither. I really sunk both ships. Total annihilation. Depths of fucking despair. Because I could not decide. And the needs of my son had to come first. And my son (who was recovering from severe depression) wanted, needed the familiar routine and town he knew, he begged me to remain close to our family he simply couldn’t handle anymore change. Eventually proximity meant that my tango partial friend became my tango dance partner and although we tried to remain just friends that just wasn’t going to happen. Back to Edith Piaf, we were at a local bar and I was meeting a very good friend of his for the first time. She was a was a wonderful, gregarious French woman who put me through the hard yards, please imagine a heavy smoker French accent: ‘you look very young, you know he can’t have any more children. He can’t take another loss either, you know he nearly died when you said just friends? I was with him through all that, he is happy now but if you go…’ She would kill me, I could see it. Then as the night progressed she realised my worth and accepted me whole hearted which meant time to play and sing as loudly as possible to what she referred to as her national song: Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien. What a beautiful lady, I had the pleasure of calling her friend for another 6 months before she dropped to the floor one day and never regained consciousness. Stroke. But I know she clearly believed in and lived a life with no regrets.

Two random points to expound upon 1. Contextualise the song, it was written in 1956 and made famous when Edith Piaf recorded it in 1960, she dedicated it to the French Legion who were in conflict at the time in Algeria. What a damn fine song to take to heart and into battle. I don’t know if Edith sang it with irony or not she sang it with intensity and passion (just wait till I start on tango songs oh my, God!) 2. The man not in close proximity, three years later he has just welcomed the birth of a beautiful daughter with an equally beautiful woman, regrets? Yes I have many. He is a part of me that can never be removed. It is a strange time in my life, my father starts radiation therapy tomorrow, my sister is suffering severe anxiety and is fearful that she will harm her children, my niece is trying to die, my brother (the niece’s father nowonder) had a heart attack and me I am celebrating liberation through honesty about my true nature, loving my son and all he is becoming, loving my man for all he is becoming. I yet I look at ‘his’ Facebook updates and can’t help but wish that was our baby and that he was still mine. When I saw him last I didn’t know if I could handle seeing him. I missed him so much I had no idea if I could stop myself from kissing and kissing and kissing him. And if he ever wanted me again, could I say no? I do not believe I could. I love him and I love my man who became so by default yet still was chosen. Lucky am I to have had such love in my life yet I regret (Yoda moment for those nerds among us). I could have been a mother again. But I chose not to, I chose to give that up to honor the child I already had. Since I am on the topic of songs; two songs come to mind (actually so many on this playlist of woe, ‘Indifference’ Pearl Jam, ‘Wonderwall’ Ryan Adams version, ‘Hallelujah’ by Gin and along the more mainstream ‘Stay’ Rihanna) for me Lorde (a New Zealand girl and damn talented at just sweet 16) ‘Biting Down’ and for my distant love Adele’s stunning version of The Cure’s ‘Lovesong’. He already knows he is home to me. Stupid girl. Not so stupid girl. Just a girl. The ones I want to ask for advice, they are gone already. Damn death that sneaky fuck who stalks those most cherished and takes them away. You just leave my Dad and niece the fuck alone.

This was not a ‘popular’ post first time round… But it’s honest and nothing has changed between now and then…





12 comments on “‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’

  1. dievca says:

    You don’t write to be popular — you write what you need. You needed to think about this, again.

  2. mrmodigliani says:

    I understand better now

  3. Michael says:

    This was hard to read…not in a bad way, just the emotional struggle. You had a tough decision with the well being of your son at a play as well. A tough as aspect of this too is that the “distant” relationship ended as if frozen in full flight. Usually people have the break up as the relationship falls apart and we are able to have some sense of closure. I can see how this would continue to pull at you. The breakup was never a matter of the heart for one another. You mention “Love Song” near the end, I have a version of that on playlist (on the blog) and Sienna and I have dialed in on the reference to “Home” in that song as well. I am home where I live but I am Home when we are together. Thanks for sharing this post, it adds richness and meaning as I explore your writing.

    • Michael, thank you so much for asking questions about this and your thoughtful comments. This has helped me greatly. The cathartic process of writing has helped too but your commentary has helped me feel understood and start to forgive. I wrote this piece in a rant of rage and frustration about the many things that were happening at the time. I can imagine it is very hard to read. Yes the relationship ended in full flight. Oddly I hadn’t thought of it this way before so your insight was greatly helpful. I noticed ‘Love Song’ on your playlist and it made me smile. I love that you and Sienna have Home together and that you understand the beauty of this treasure x

      • Michael says:

        Thanks for the reply, I don’t try to pass myself off as wise or even really try to give advice. I like to paraphrase or return echoes…occasionally something helpful comes from it. 🙂 Mostly though, I seek to understand the journey of others, and this moment in your life continues to produce its own meaningful echoes.

  4. jayne says:

    I don’t know how I ended up here today but wow, I’m glad I did. You are a woman of content for sure. I wish your heart as much lightness as possible. I wish you the peace to embrace any and every bit of joy and happiness with your father. Hugs to you, Jayne

  5. […] was one of thoughtful reminiscing, thinking of my brother and his daughter who has been and still is in such a dark place. I sat at lunchtime in the calm of a local park, alone with my […]

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