My Greatest Failure

Topics: Burial, Funeral, Cemetery Pages: 8 (1490 words) Published: June 24, 2014
McCulloch 1

William A. McCulloch

Professor Mejia

English 1301

June 11, 2014

My Greatest Failure

This is hard. A few years back I knew a young lady. Michelle was her name. We were not involved

romantically, but we were in a relationship. Neither of us had many friends, she because she was rather

abrasive; me because I have always been a loner. We met one evening at a Crown's Book Store where

we struck up a conversation about Terry Goodkind's "Sword of Truth" series. I found her to be an

extremely adept conversationalist! We walked the aisles comparing anecdotes about various books and

authors until the store closed. Then we sat on the tailgate of my truck, where we drank a six-pack of

Moosehead Beer and talked until midnight. Personally, this was strange for me, it is rare that I open up

to someone so easily. From that night on we talked almost daily, either by phone or we would meet in

Memorial Park. We would spend hours walking and talking about any subject that would capture our

attention: music, food, books, movies, and people.

People seemed to always let her down. We both shared the belief that it wasn't our place to judge or

condemn others. Accept others, "warts and all" was a saying that we both seemed to believe in. I

knew that Michelle was prone to periods of depression. When she was feeling low, she would call and

we would spend hours on the phone. I guess that it was a sort of therapy for her, but I just enjoyed her

quirky irreverence. Life happens, I became involved in a relationship and for a couple of weeks I

avoided taking several calls from her. I didn't even take the time to listen to her messages. One evening

I listened to all of my voice mails, as I listened to each message in turn I became alarmed at the

seeming desperation in her words. She was pleading with me to please call her because she needed me.

I immediately called her number. The woman who answered the phone wasn't Michelle. When I asked

McCulloch 2

to speak to her, she asked me who I was and what was my relationship was with Michelle. When I

explained that we were friends and that I was worried about her, she told me that she was her Aunt Kay

and that Michelle had taken her own life. For the last time someone had let Michelle down...and that

someone, was me. As I said, this is hard.

It gets worse. I could have let it go at that, the problem was the intense feelings of guilt that seemed

to overwhelm me. I asked her Aunt if it was possible for me to come by. She gave me permission, but

told me that Michelle's mother would not be available for me to speak with. When I got there, her

Aunt introduced me to a Catholic Priest who was there to console the family. It was then that I

remembered some of the conversations that Michelle and I had concerning her "failing" her mother

with regards to their faith. Michelle had sought counseling on numerous occasions with different

members of the faith. She found little solace there. The problems arose when the priests spoke with

her mother about the things that she discussed with them! The result was that her mother forbade her

to seek help from the church because it was embarrassing her.

I was able to sit down with Michelle's Aunt and Father Franki and relate my story. It was a difficult

conversation. It is was so hard for me to convey how miserable I felt about my failure to "be there" for

Michelle when she needed me so desperately. I like to believe that I am a good person and a good

friend. When a friend needs help, a real friend is ready, and willing to help. I had failed a friend, in a

time of crisis, with catastrophic results! Now there is a hole in my life where Michelle was; Now I will

never hear her voice, or watch her laugh, (I loved to make her laugh). Do I even deserve the right to

ever call myself "friend" to anyone? Everything that I believed about myself as a...
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