Sunday, February 7, 2010

No Regrets

Sometimes I lie awake at night and wonder how I'd change things if I could go back a few years.  I know it is useless to dwell on the past, but I often do wish that I could go back to when I was thirteen or fourteen years old.  I like to ponder how I'd be different, how I would change things if I knew what I know now.

Two years ago, a friend of mine named Gatlin committed suicide.  It feels weird to say that it's been two years.  It seems like a shorter amount of time that that.  Gatlin and I were friends for around three years before he died.  While we were friends, we would sometimes have casual conversations about suicide and death.  I was depressed.  He was depressed.  I thought that it was natural to talk about the the way you feel.  I never thought that he would actually fulfill his word- at least not before I did.  I never told a parent.  I never did anything about it.  When he actually died, we hadn't discussed things like that in months.  I was finally happy.

His death came as a horror and a shock to me.  I felt more guilt than I'd ever felt before in my life.  Why didn't I ever tell anyone?  Why didn't I question him more than I did?  Why did I naturally assume that if he didn't talk about wanting to die, then that meant he was happy too?  My thoughts plagued me more with each passing day.

If I got the chance to go back three or four years, I would appreciate my friends so much more than I did back then.  I would treasure each moment with Gatlin, and I would also treasure moments with other friends that I lost: friends I lost because of silly fights and arguments that won't ever matter in the grand scheme of things.

If I could go back, I wouldn't encourage the discussion of death and suicide.  I would talk about life and about Christ and about having a future.

And most importantly, if I could go back, then I would tell somebody when Gatlin told me the things that he did.  I wouldn't let myself have a reason to blame myself for his death.  In fact, I would do everything I could possibly do to prevent it.  I don't know why I didn't act on his words.  I don't know why I didn't ask for help.  But I didn't, and it's too late to change that.

If you have a friend that loosely mentions topics like suicide and depression, please don't trust that they're never going to act on their words, because they might.  They could do something that you will regret for the rest of your life.  Tell someone you can trust.  Go to and ask someone there for counseling.

And most of all, please treasure the relationships that you have.  Don't let yourself have reason for regrets.  Love your friends.  You may not have them with you forever.

If you could go back a few years, what would you change?  Would you change anything at all, or do you have no regrets?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, your blog entry is so powerful. It's quite a challenge your ending line, change things or have no regrets. (;