Too Late

They met when they were young. She fell madly in love with him. His charm, his smile, his kindness, everything about him drew her in. For a year, it seemed as if he, too, was in love with her. That was until he became so absorbed in his work that he forgot to focus on their world. She could see it, but for the sake of love was blinded to its severity for a time. But time waits for no man or woman, and soon it was too late.

She graduated college after working hard to earn her degree. She looked out in the crowd, eager to see his face. She had hoped he would take the time to show up, even though his friends were in town. As she received her degree, her heart sank, as he was no where to be found. As her fellow graduates invited her for a celebratory drink, she peered at her phone. A text read, “Sorry, got caught up in a project. Be there soon.” She replied, “No, it’s okay. We’ve finished up. You’re too late.”

On a scheduled date night, she waited at the restaurant she picked out. She sat patiently, recalling the things he had promised they would do that night. She knew he would more than likely be working late again, as he had been working unnecessarily long hours hoping to finally reach a “big breakthrough”. An hour passed, then two, then three. As the staff started closing the restaurant, she picked up her things and walked to the car, only to see him walking toward the door. “Where are you going?” He asked. “I’m going home. They’re closing, it’s too late.”

On their one year anniversary, she got home early to make a candlelit dinner. She prepared his favorite meal, laid out candles near the bathtub, and unwrapped the lovely negligee she had picked out the week before. She hoped that this would at least be enough to capture his attention for the remainder of the evening, as they had spent little time together, even when he was home. Maybe tonight they would rekindle the dying flame, maybe they would fall asleep blissfully instead of with sterile kisses and empty “I love you’s”. Her hopes were dashed when he came home, ate hurriedly, and opened his computer to “finish up” something he was working on. She sighed and cleared the bathtub of the candles to put them away, then changed into her pajamas to go to sleep. When he walked in a few hours later, he asked if she still was awake and wanted to celebrate their anniversary. “I wanted to celebrate, yes. I had a wonderful evening, I thought, planned out. But it’s 3 AM, dear. It’s too late.”

The years went on, and she found herself pregnant with their first child. She was excited, and at times he was as well, as he was happy to “leave behind his legacy.” While this view point was disconcerting to a point, she brushed it off and enjoyed her growing belly. When the time came for her to have their child, a close friend rushed her to the hospital. She called her husband, telling him that it was time. He was out of town on business, but was supposed to be home early that morning. He had promised he wouldn’t stay any longer than required, but he got wrapped up in his work. He told her that he would leave as soon as he could. Later that night, he walked into the room, to see his tired wife surrounded by loved ones as they admired their son. “I missed it?” He asked. Looks of shame and disdain covered the faces of the others in the room as they turned to face him. “Yes, you missed it,” she replied in a voice exhausted by childbirth and disappointment. “You’re too late.”

Another year passed. He finally achieved the big break he had been working for… The one he sacrificed all his time for…. The one he neglected his relationship for all those years. As he and his co-workers shared a celebratory bottle of champagne, his friend of many years asked, “So do you think your wife will be happy for you, now that you will finally have time for her after so many years of ignoring her to chase this?” He looked at his friend, and suddenly the shock of realization hit him. It didn’t matter how many times she had warned him, asked him, or begged him to work on their relationship. He had always chalked it up to her being hormonal or just looking for an argument. It took someone else to point it out, but he finally realized that he really had ignored the one person that had been there all that time. Yes, he had more money and would have more recognition, but would it be worth anything to him if his wife was not there to share it with him? Would she be willing to share a life with someone that used his job as a proverbial mistress while she sat patiently waiting for the man she loved to return to view? He ran to his car and drove up to the house in time to see her packing some things into her car. “Honey, wait! I got the promotion! I don’t have to spend long hours at work anymore, I can make it up…” “DON’T. You could never “make it up to me.” i have given you years of my life, and no matter what, you have placed your priorities at the very top. Your actions always speak louder than words, and they bespeak a man that is never satisfied until his ego and greed are fulfilled. You want nothing but the best for yourself, and won’t stop until you achieve it, but you ignore what you have in front of you. You had so many chances to make time for me, for us. And you didn’t. You didn’t have to spend constant long hours at that job working for a promotion through countless failed and flawed project ideas. But you chose to. You have your promotion now. You have more time now. Enjoy it alone. For us, as always, you are too late.”

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Everything in life requires balance. We have responsibilities, things we must do, things we enjoy doing. However, if someone chooses to walk the path of life with someone by one’s side, one must be careful not to push one’s significant other into the ditch just for the chance to walk on the smooth side of the road. I repeat the sentiment that time is finite. Whether by death or by consequence of our actions, the time we have with those around us is limited. We should be careful to ensure that the time is spent well and not cut short due to selfish antics or an obsession with never being satisfied. We will always make time for what we care about. We must ensure that what we care about devoting most of our time to is truly important enough to envelope so much time. So my friends, I must ask you, are you like the man in the story? Are you chasing something with so much fervor that you forget those around you? Are you living only in the future, so that you cannot enjoy what is right in front of you? Do you find that you are working only to continue working so that you can work on something else, instead of working to be able to have time and resources to enjoy life? Be careful on the roads you take, in all aspects of life. You may one day find that you lost someone or something dear to you because you realized the error of your ways too late.

Alone

Photo by Flavio Spugna via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Photo by Flavio Spugna via Flickr
(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

You came into the world,
Welcomed with open arms,
I was an accident, a mistake,
And began my life alone.

You were taught family’s importance,
That they’ll always be by your side,
I was begged to be “normal,”
So I built my dreams and hopes alone.

You are lucky to know friendship,
From people always glad to lend an ear,
I was taught to be silent,
And still must suffer my feelings alone.

You have someone to hold you,
Someone that warms your side at night,
I sleep in solitude, hug my pillow,
And cry myself to sleep alone.

You’ll die surrounded by loved ones,
With your hand held as you move on,
I’ll pass on before my time,
At my hand, I’ll die as I lived, alone.

They say the death of one is a tragedy,
Is the death of over 800,000 is just a statistic?
For how can so many feel at peace,
When so many feel alone?


“Alone. Yes, that’s the key word, the most awful word in the English tongue. Murder doesn’t hold a candle to it and hell is only a poor synonym.” – Stephen King

Let me assure my readers that I did NOT write this because I am suicidal. I simply wanted to give you all perspective, as I do in many of my works. The World Health Organization states than over 800,000 people commit suicide worldwide a year. The most prevalent cause of suicide is depression. While many will argue that the best course of action for depression is medication (and while I do not deny that certain medications in certain conditions can be helpful), sometimes a person’s outlook can change if one person, just ONE person, makes the effort to sit down and listen. It won’t change the bad things that have happened. It won’t fix everything. But when a person feels overwhelmed, if they have someone they can confide in, someone that he/she knows actually cares about him/her enough to listen to the struggles, that person will feel less alone. That person knows that he/she matters to someone. When a person has no one to confide in (mind you having people around does NOT mean one has someone to truly confide in), that person’s depression or hopelessness will become exacerbated. Sometimes people don’t watch those around them carefully enough, or are so concerned with themselves that they overlook what is blatantly obvious. This is not to say that a person’s suicide is the fault of those around him/her, but it is an encouragement for others to take time out of their busy lives to listen to those they care about instead of half-heartedly nodding along or tuning them out. Those that feel depressed or suicidal are encouraged to speak their mind, not hold it in, but depression and suicide are still stigmatized subjects that few want to talk about. Why would people talk about something they feel no one wants to hear? Don’t we realize that brushing these subjects off in turn makes these people feel as if they themselves are being pushed to the side? Just hiding or ignoring the problem does not make anything go away, except the people we love. Suicide prevention does not start just when you pull a person back from the brink of death. It can start at a much simpler, human level. Start listening, not just hearing. You never know how much it could mean to that person.

SUICIDE HELP HOTLINES AND WEBSITES: For those that feel they have no one else to turn to, it is NOT too late. There are people that will listen, and the only way that things will truly never change is if you end your life. Please, if you are contemplating suicide, STOP, and call a suicide prevention hotline or visit a suicide prevention website.

US:

1-800-SUICIDE
(1-800-784-2433)

1-800-273-TALK
(1-800-273-8255)

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

UK:

Samaritans: (08457 90 90 90)

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Suicide/Pages/Getting-help.aspx

International:

http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html

Forever Dead

An old man lay in a hospital bed, on the edge of his life. He was neither wealthy nor famous, but like all of us, did have regrets. He had a story to tell.

The night nurse was making her rounds, and stopped in his room to check up on him. “Is everything okay in here?” she asked. “I’m about as good as can be expected,” the man laughed hoarsely. “Cancer tends to do that.” She shot him a sympathetic but almost chastising look. “Do you have to joke about it?” He nodded slightly. “If I didn’t make light of it, it would have already killed me.” The nurse smiled and walked towards the door, to return to her station, until the man stopped her. “Do you have time for a quick story?” he asked. “I’ve got some things to get off my chest.” She nodded and returned to his bedside as she took a seat in the chair near the window.

“I grew up in a small town, about an hour from here. I lived there all my life, until I had to be moved to this room. Some people called it an ideal life, since it was quiet and very little went on. For me, that was the exact reason it was not ideal. I wanted adventure, I wanted to travel the world, I wanted to be an artist. But my parents were old fashioned, and they wanted me to help with the family business and stay in the community. Community in that one horse town and status were important to them for some reason. They owned a small goods store that my father had inherited from his father, and they wanted to keep it up and running. To appease my parents, I stayed, thinking it would just help me pay my way through the “silly artsy-fartsy” school my they wouldn’t pay for since they did not consider art a real job. I was wrong.

When I was 22, I met the woman that was to be my wife. She grew up in a neighboring small town, but she had dreams of getting out. She was beautiful, and so full of life, dreams, aspirations. Her laugh was infectious. At this point, I had been working in that damned store for 4 years. Times were hard on the store, and saving up to move away and attend school was harder than I expected. I had pretty much given up on art college, and I let my aspiration go out the window. A year later, we were married, and we bought a small place of our own. She still wanted, and deserved to leave the small area. But I had already become complacent and bitter. Instead of holding on to my dream, I let the past change me. I was angry that I had already wasted so much time on the store, in that town. Instead of working to change that slowly, and holding on to faith, and loving her like I should have, I drove her away. I didn’t see any point in trying to leave, and the anger only drove us apart. She left me 4 years later and took her light with her.

After that, I could have turned it around, but there was no point. The one good thing I had, I lost, and I had to live with the fact that I had tarnished her optimistic smile and bright eyes. This did not motivate me to do any better, and before I knew it the store was in the tubes. I started drinking, and cared less and less about my future. I sold the store building and went to work as a cashier at a nearby supermarket. It wasn’t long until my drinking habit made me lose my job, and throughout my life I bounced from job to job, just to survive, not to fulfill any goals.

We all are alive, but very few of us actually live. I should have stood up to my parents when I was young and done everything I could to get a better job somewhere else if they would not have listened. I should have held on to my dreams and realized that it wasn’t too late, and I should not have taken it out on the one person that was supporting me. I should not have given up and drank my life away in that small house in that same town. I should have held on to hope, but instead I became a complacent shell of a man.”

The nurse listened intently, with sadness in her eyes. “I am so sorry. What’s worse, you have no time to fix it now.” The man waved his hand. “Don’t feel sorry for me. Just take heed to my words. It’s easy for me to accept death, because I was dead the whole time.”