Post # 1
I didn’t know where to post this, so I apologize if it’s not the right place.
I just found out from my best friend that a girl we grew up with from our home town passed away tragically over the weekend. I was shocked and I feel so badly.
I feel badly for her family, and her fiance. That is the most important thing. She was to be married soon; I can’t imagine what they are going through.
However, I selfishly feel very guilty for the fact that we didn’t get along when we were in grammar school. When we were 10/11, she rubbed me the wrong way and I was probably jealous of her taking my friend’s attention, and girl drama ensued causing a year of fighting/not talking with some of my best friends. It was never horrible, but it wasn’t nice. We patched things up, but at a party later that year, even though we were getting along great and had the chance to put it all behind us – I bullied her and teased her and did some regretable things. Something I look back on as one of my least proud moments. I’m embarassed how easily I succumbed to peer pressure. I know I was only 11 or 12 years old but I feel so horrible that I would do that to someone. I’m the LAST person you’d call a bully. Shy. Quiet. I like to make other people happy even at the expense of what I want/need. But it was the stupidity of youth. And I’ve always regretted it.
I ran into her when I was in college and she stopped by a store I worked at. I treated the situation as if nothing had happened. I am not sure she did the same, but it was civil and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. A lot of time had passed, so I felt we’d both moved on. (We did not see each other in middle/high school).
I just don’t even know what I’m writing, but it’s obvious that I can never apologize to her for being a horrible brat when I was 11 (close to 20 years ago). I know I have no right to ask to clear my conscience, and that isn’t the point here. Someone died young and it’s a tragedy.
But I noticed on her obituary they are asking for donations to a charity she volunteered for. Is it acceptable to make a donation to this charity in her name? I know it won’t change anything and that in the big scheme of the world that I didn’t do anything truly horrible and unforgiveable, but I still feel like it may help give me closure.
Any thoughts please. I just feel so badly for her and her family.
Post # 3
- Wedding: August 2013 - The Liberty House
I think that would be totally acceptable. Try to let this go, though- you have obviously learned your lesson
Post # 4
@KLC216: It was a long time ago – the important thing is that you understand what you did was wrong and you are truly sorry for it. We all do/say stupid, regrettable things when we are young, some things much worse than others but I’m sure we can all recall something that makes us inwardly cringe.
Send the donation in her name, let her run through your mind and remember her fondly and then…let it all go. Forgive yourself. It’s time to move on. You’re not a bad person and I’m sure your classmate would be so happy to know that a cause close to her heart will be profitting by your kindness.
Post # 5
We’ve all had moments we’re not proud of sometime during our lives. You clearly seem remorseful and that you know what happened was not right. Now is the time to let it go and realize that in you acknowledging you were in the wrong and acted a way you would never act again, in my mind you have made ammends. Don’t let this eat at you forever. I’m sure there was a time when she decided to put the past behind her as well.
I’m sorry for your loss. I think making a donation to her charity would be a very sweet gesture.
Post # 6
Thank you ladies so much for taking the time to make me feel better about the situatcharity will make a donation and forgive myself for the actions of my youth. It was a long time ago and I definitely have grown a lot since then.
Again, thank you all.
Post # 7
I feel compelled to comment because like this girl, I was also a victim of bullying and I am also roughly the same age as you two. Growing up, I was bullied constantly. Ever since Grade 4, I was bullied every single day of every year until I graduated. Even outside of school, the kids would show up on my doorstep, prank phone me, scream at me from moving cars, and make fun of me wherever they saw me. By the time I was eleven, I was suicidal. I do still suffer from Depression, and like your classmate, I ignore the people I went to school with when I see them now as adults–I purposely don’t speak to them and most of them don’t try to speak to me either. I honestly don’t think most of them even recognize me anymore and of course I don’t self-identify even though I recognize THEM. It’s not that I still hold grudges against them because I honestly don’t anymore–I figured out years ago that they only did what they did to me because they were just stupid kids who had problems in their own lives and they took it out on me–the reason why I still don’t talk to them is because I simply have no desire to make friends with these people now and even less desire to reminice about our school days with them because those were good old times for them but they’re nothing but sad memories for me. My experience and theirs were completely different and thus I have nothing to talk about with them, no common ground to stand on, and no interest in talking to them.
You are a better person than most bullies because you are actually sorry for what you did to this girl (and thank you for that), but most bullies forget what they did and just move on with their lives while the victim never forgets and has to carry that memory with them for the rest of their life. You’ve learned an extremely powerful lesson and it is a lesson which I hope you will continue to teach others. I think that really is the best thing you can do for your ex-classmate now, especially if you do it in her honor. Teach other people how much bullying hurts so they’ll know not to do it and then more children won’t have to suffer the same way she did.
I am truly sorry for your loss, though. May she rest in peace.
Post # 8
@MoonlightRose: did the OP say it was a suicide? I didn’t read that.
Post # 9
@Overjoyed: You’re right. I might have just assumed. I’m going to edit my post, thank you for the correction.
Post # 10
@KLC216: I was bullied as a kid and you know what? I’m over it. Does it hurt? Yeah but ultimately people that are hurting are the people that hurt others.
I think you should honor her most by growing from this experience and it seems you already have. Going forward try to be a little kinder and if you have kids in the future teach them to be kind.
You were a kid. What you did as an immature kid doesn’t define who you are today.
Post # 11
I am sorry to hear of this young Bride to be’s death. Don’t beat yourslf up for something you did as an 11 year old. I think making a onation in her name is a loverly gesture. We all do jerky things as kids, as long as we grow into non jerky adults I guess.
Post # 12
I’m sorry about your classmate. I think making a donation would be a very nice gesture, especially because it sounds heartfelt.
You’re not a horrible person, nor were you when you were a kid. You would only deserve to feel guilty if you were at this moment reveling in the memory of how you bullied her instead of feeling the way you are now.
Post # 13
@KLC216: Making a donation would be a lovely and appropriate gesture. Try to forgive yourself for being stupid as a kid. Everyone has done something they regret at one point or another. Don’t let it consume all your attention (trust me, it is not fun at all). If it would help you to work through your guilt and grief, you can always look into volunteering with a group like United Way or Big Brothers & Big Sisters.
I really wasn’t ever bullied (maybe once or twice), but I was so quiet and had no self esteem so I wound up thinking no one liked me or wanted to get to know me. Some people said some stuff behind my back and even a family member wound up talking about me (and my boyfriend) behind my back at one point. I’ve forgiven them, even if they don’t know it, because I know that I also wound up doing and saying stupid stuff about other people too. I still beat myself up over some of things I’ve done, but I have to forgive myself in order to really learn from the experience and become a better person.
You need to do the same. It’s too late to try and apologize to this young woman. The best thing you can do is really learn from the experience and try to do better in the future.
@MoonlightRose: Some bullies may not remember the things they’ve done, but I don’t think that they’re the majority. The really hardcore bullies would, but the normal kids who get roped into bullying through peer pressure or who just make a stupid choice probably don’t. You never know what’s going through someone else’s mind. To this day, I still beat myself up on a regular basis because of stupid decisions I made. I was also suicidal at one point, but it was partly because of the things I did (which, in retrospect, weren’t really all that terrible to be honest) and partly due to low self-esteem and no coping mechanisms.You never know what’s going on in another person’s life until you’ve walked in their shoes (not that I’d recommend you do that after everything you were put through).
I am extremely sorry that you went through what you did. Please don’t think that all bullies are horrible human beings; some of them were more like you than you can imagine.
Post # 14
I think making a donation sounds like a wonderful idea. I think most people have had issues with others in middle school and I’m pretty sure by now . . . we’ve all gotten over it. So try not to beat yourself up too much!
Post # 15
@LoggerHead91207: Rest assured that I don’t think they’re all horrible human beings. 🙂 Honestly, it took a very long time before I was able to forgive, but I did because like I said, I eventually came to realize that they only did what they did because they were young and foolish and had their own issues which they were taking out on me. Some of them were in fact victims of bullying in other situations. I also give them the benefit of the doubt and believe that they truly didn’t realize just how much they were hurting me. One girl who made fun of me for YEARS (including the prank phone calls) apologized to me after she got bullied herself one day, walked home by herself that day, and realized that this was what I went through EVERY day. A little understanding went a long way with her. Other children do indeed crack under peer pressure, and I know that a lot of the kids made fun of me just because their friends did too and they didn’t want to be bullied like I was. It takes a lot more courage than most young children are capable of to be able to stand up for a bullied classmate.
I don’t think you should continue to beat yourself up every day over this. You regret what you’ve done and you’ve become a better person because of it, and changing for the better is the best thing that you can ever do. Forgive yourself. 🙂 As someone else said, you are NOT defined by the things you did as a child. I do hope you will continue to spread the message about bullying, though. I think we have the power to make a difference in our society.
Post # 16
@MoonlightRose: Easier said than done. I’m in a much better place now than I was five years ago. I still struggle with body image and self-esteem, but I’m generally much happier now. For the most part I’m able to move past everything that I did and had done to me; but there are still moments when I get overwhelmed by guilt over things I said and bad choices I’ve made. It’s tough, but I feel like it will make me a better person at some point.
And again, I’m really sorry about what you went through as a kid. I never experienced or did anything like that growing up and I don’t think anyone should ever have to go through that. You seem like you have an extremely healthy attitude towards everything though and that’s something to be really proud of.