Regrets in ABA

posted in: De-mentalize This | 4

What is Regret?

Black Square
(Photo credit: Johannes P Osterhoff)

The dictionary defines it as “to feel sorrow or remorse for (an act, fault, disappointment, etc.” and “to think of with a sense of loss” (

The behavioral term has something to do with thinking (a private event). Thinking that you could have or should have done something (i.e. eating another slice of pizza, saying hi to that girl or guy, watching The Empire Strikes Back, the Godfather, or Pride and Prejudice for the 17th time…) and you just keep thinking and thinking and thinking about it. (DRO, anyone?) I am here to make my private event public now.

My Lost Opportunity

Years ago, I met Tina, my next-door neighbor, when I moved into a new neighborhood.  Since she was about my mother’s age, she joked that she was my other mom and she did exactly that: she would feed me, asked about my day and yes… give my roommate and me a drink or two when we ran out of beverages. Though everyone moved out of that neighborhood, we kept in touch. She called me every holiday and birthday. And when I had my own family, she would always ask about them. Tina even remembered my son’s birthday! Yes, that “grandson” she never met!

Awhile back, she told me that she had been diagnosed with cancer and she was going through chemo and treatments… “I am keeping it positive,” she told me and I truly believed that she would pull through.

I called her on Mother’s Day.

She texted me on Father’s Day. And I should have called.

Then came July 3rd, the exam results were in. I passed. I was ecstatic!!! I made it! I told everyone. No, I thought I told everyone.

A few days later, the party was over. I realized I didn’t tell everyone…. Tina! And I thought to myself, “she’ll call in a few days and I’ll tell her then. That would cheer her up!”

I did not get that chance. I received a text from my old roommate one night last week: Tina passed away earlier that day. I missed my chance.

Now What?

I hope her family will find comfort and keep her memories alive. I will do the same.

Yes, I will miss you. And no, I will no longer have any excuses not to do anything.

Farewell, mama.

What is your regret? And what are you going to do about that?

This post is dedicated to the loving memory of Mrs. Tina C., my other mother.

Special thanks and shout-out to Dr. Josh Pritchard (see his stuff here) and Sorah Cheryl Eyrich-Stein (see her and her gang here)… and I also extend my thanks to Dr. Rick Kubina for term definition.

4 Responses

  1. Ryan

    I like that you are trying to walk things out in behavioralease. I believe that the meaning of a word is ‘the variables responsible for it’s emission.’ Do you agree with that definition of meaning, and how does it apply to what you posted here on regret?