Richard Mulholland
  • SPEAKER
    • Richard kicked off his career as a rock n roll roadie, operating lights for bands such as Iron Maiden and Def Leppard. From there he started SA's largest presentation firm, Missing Link and co-founded 21Tanks, SA's first perspective lab.

      Richard is a highly regarded speaker. When not addressing many of South Africa's top corporations, he guest lectures on courses for The Cape Graduate School of Business (GSB), and the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS).

      As well as blogging on richmulholland.com, Richard is a columnist for Longevity and Destiny Man magazines.

      He has a tattoo of your Mum on his left bum cheek...!

  • ENTREPRENEUR
    • Rich started and grew Missing Link to be the largest Presentation firm in South Africa. Never one to be satisfied with stagnation, Rich has made use of his advanced years to accomplish a fair amount. He bred again, tattooed his back, owns two houses, and now rides a Vespa (after failing his learner’s…). They grow up so fast… He also co-founded our sister company – 21Tanks!
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    • E-mail rich at missinglink dot co dot za
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Still learning...!

Reclaim yourself, question everything...

A suitcase tagged with regret

When I was 21 years old, I walked into the bedroom of my great aunt Mamie for the last time. She was sitting in her chair crying, tears running down her cheeks. Growing up Mamie was one of the most important people in the world to me, always having a story to tell – I was devastated to see her like this.

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“What’s wrong, Mamie?” I asked.

“Sit down.” she said, smiling now, “I’d like to tell you a story.”

“When I was just about your age, I left Glasgow for Toronto. I was young and excited, leaving home for the first time. Toronto was a whirlwind for me, I got my first job, and I watched my first Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game.”

If you know me and have ever wondered where my passion for the Maple Leafs came from – now you know.

“It was also in Toronto that I met my first love.” she continued. “His name was Lesley John Moore, he was the most handsome man I had ever seen. One weekend, a few months after we had met, he took me for a drive to one of the nearby lakes, when we were there he got down on one knee and proposed to me, the sun setting over his shoulder. I was ecstatic.”

She stopped for a second as she remembered the moment, smiling through a tear.

“The next week, I packed my clothes into one of his suitcases, the letters L.J.M stenciled in gold leaf, and went home to tell my mother. At first she was as happy for me as I was, until she asked me if he was Catholic, he wasn’t, and in those days things like that mattered. She was furious and forbid me from ever talking to him again. Over the following months, letters came, but they were always returned to sender, unread. My mother would not even let me write to him to explain.”

“They say time heals all, and I guess over the years I healed a lot. I met your Uncle Reggie, we got married and tried to start a family of our own. After three miscarriages, we knew it would never happen. So your Mum became a daughter to me, and then you and your sisters became my grandchildren. Your Uncle Reggie died when you were two, but he adored you. You used to sit on his knee taking the pen out of his pocket.”

“I really do love you all more than you can possibly imagine, you are my happiness. However, when you walked in today, I was crying because I was wondering what my life would have been like had I married Lesley John Moore.”

people cry.jpg

The following day I left on tour with Roxette. Mamie died while I was on the road.

I have never forgotten that last sentence. It is, without a doubt, the saddest 16 words I had ever heard.

Sixty years after she had left Toronto, she still cried for the love she never knew.

The final lesson Mamie taught me was this: It’s far better to live with the regret of the mistakes you have made, than to die with the regret of never having tried.

She had that suitcase with her until the day she died.

Love you Mamie…!

February 27, 2012 at 10:14 am | 165 comments

165 Responses to “A suitcase tagged with regret”

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