Dear Barb—Road Regrets

Dear Barb:

I don’t know if you can help me, as I’m in a bad place in my life and don’t know how to move forward.  Several years ago, me and a couple of buddies went out partying and I ended up driving home.  I knew I shouldn’t have been driving, but I thought if I took the back roads I would be able to get home without detection.  I ended up hitting another car.  The person driving was an older man and he was taken to the hospital but died a few days later.  I went through a trial and was sentenced to jail time and lost my licence for ten years.  The trial was difficult for both families.  The family members of the man I killed read victim impact statements.  I felt so horrible.  I am not a bad person, I just made a mistake.  Even though I have served my time, I am not able to move on with my life.  My days are filled with guilt for the pain I caused the family of the person I killed.  I want to reach out to them.  I have thought about writing them a letter, but I don’t want to make their pain any worse.  I would have never imagined my life taking a turn like this.  Life really can change in the blink of an eye.  When I meet someone, or get into a relationship I know I have to tell them what I did.  Often I can see the disgust in their eyes as they pull away from me.  How am I going to get on with my life? I can understand how some people end up committing suicide after doing something so horrific.  I need some help.  Thanks Dylan. 

Hi Dylan:

You are very brave to write this letter.  The pain and regret you feel is apparent.  Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to make this go away.  I don’t think it’s necessary to remind you of the pain you caused the family of the person you killed, as you are fully aware of that.  This is a life changing event that you will have to live with for the rest of your life.  I don’t know if you have gotten any help from a counselor or other professional, but if you haven’t you should definitely look into it.  There are things you can do to educate others about what can happen if you choose to drink and drive.  Share your story with others.  Go to schools and universities and talk about what happened and the pain you are living with.  By sharing in this way, you may prevent someone else from making the same decision you did when you got behind the wheel of a vehicle while under the influence.  Perhaps you will meet other people who are living the same nightmare you are, and you may be able to help each other to heal.  Writing a letter may be therapeutic for you and the other family, even if you don’t send it.  You have taken ownership of that you did and now you need to forgive yourself.  Thanks for your heartfelt letter.

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