When I wrote about the ‘what-ifs’ yesterday I had a couple of particular situations in mind. Perhaps the saddest of these is my old friend Hyo.
He is the second person I’ve known who committed suicide. The other was someone who worked for the same company I did. I had just started working there, he was in a different department – we didn’t really know each other very well. But Hyo – that was different. We had dated. Not seriously, but enough to be friends. We’d gone through a mutual rough spot together, and I suppose I felt a common bond with him because of that.
The problem is, we didn’t really get through it together. I got through it. He hid the fact that he still hurt. He never got over it, and for years he kept his pain to himself, until one day it became too much to bear.
When I read Mama Kat’s prompt last week, his was the first face that my mind saw. His soft voice was the first one I heard.
Oh Hyo. What could I have done differently?
I really do not know the answer to that question, and I never will. I’ll never be able to go back in time and change something, choose differently, react differently. I can’t bring him back.
I didn’t realize that this was still weighing on me until I read that prompt, and since then I’ve scarcely stopped thinking about him. It’s just so horribly, awfully sad.
Two quotes keep coming to mind.
“Painful as it may be, a significant emotional event can be the catalyst for choosing a direction that serves us – and those around us – more effectively. Look for the learning.” -Louisa May Alcott
I’m still looking.
“What you need to know about the past is that no matter what has happened, it has all worked together to bring you to this very moment. And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new. Right now.”
I’m not sure how to make everything new. I’ve started by making a donation to New Hope, a Christian resource for those who are depressed or suicidal. But that’s easy, isn’t it? Hands-off and comfortable, to send a few dollars whilst actively doing…nothing.
I’m looking to do something. Partly to assuage my own guilt, I admit. And partly so that I don’t find myself in this position again, having looked the other way and left someone behind. Sins of omission are sometimes the hardest to deal with.