"To this day, I blame myself for my grandmother's death. It happened when I was 6 years old. My family and I would visit my gran almost every day. She used to be a baker and even when retired, she enjoyed doing it in her spare time. So I used to always go over and eat cake and drink tea with her.
Fast forward to 6-year-old me, playing and running around the house. I bumped into my gran and she fell badly on her knee. She went into the hospital. Two weeks later, she's dead. I know, deep down, it had to be something else that she died from. But I can't shake it. I feel this enormous guilt. It makes me feel depressed and suicidal. She was the woman I loved most in my life until that point. And I feel like I killed her."
"When I was 13 years old, we lived in a large house with multiple rooms and a security system. One night we had a confirmed break-in. The security system started going off. I had weapons in my room. My father is usually working at night so being the man in the house, I grabbed my weapon and went searching. My father never went to work that night but there was an actual intruder. I was sitting under my kitchen table and saw a man completely covered in black. So I shot at him four times, twice in the stomach, once in the shoulder and another in the leg.
But the thing is...that wasn't the intruder. I knew because of the scream. It was a scream of a voice I loved all too much. Then around the corner came the intruder sprinting and jumping out my kitchen window. I had no reaction because I knew instantly what I had done. I ran to the phone and called the police. He died on the way to the hospital. I wasn't charged because I was so young to be in a situation like that. My mother was heartbroken. I'm 19, on my own and have had no contact with my family since that night. I'm an addict with no future. I blame myself for being irresponsible with a weapon. I know my father is looking down on me. I never meant for it to happen."
"I'd been driving for less than a year when I was driving through a neighborhood that had lots of cars parked on the side of the road. A 4-year-old kid ran out in front of my car and I had less than a second to stop. I bumped her pretty hard and she was knocked over. She hit her head on the pavement and (apparently) died instantly. I went numb. My surroundings suddenly started fading and I almost passed out. As I got out of the car, I saw her blood all over the road, and I vomited everywhere. Her mum came over screaming. It's the worst sound I've ever heard. The police saw that there was literally nothing I could have done and let me go.
As for dealing with it, I didn't/don't do it well. The first six months after it happened, I was either wasted or on painkillers and weed almost 90% of the time because it was the only thing that made me forget what I'd done. Then I stopped drinking and replaced it with self-harm and continued doing painkillers for about two years. I'd go through the moment thousands of times in my mind. I had dreams about it. I barely slept. I'd dealt with depression before this point, but this just made it so much worse.
Then one day, her mum showed up at my house and wanted to talk to me. In all honesty, the initial thought that went through my head when I first realized it was her was, 'Oh no. she's here to kill me and get revenge,' which was then followed by, 'I hope she does it so I don't have to live with the guilt anymore.'
She hadn't come to do that, she'd come to forgive me. She told me that it was hard for her to do, but she ultimately realized that me killing her daughter wasn't my fault. I burst into tears and hugged her for a solid minute while we both cried our eyes out.
Even now, three years later I still think about it every day. I still hate myself, I still have depression and I'm still suicidal. I don't know how to deal with it. But I'm still here, I guess."
"From my late teens to my mid-to-late 20s, I had a severe problem with dependency. When I was 22 or 23, I met a girl who was a recovering addict. We started dating right away, and, as I was still very active in my addiction, it was only a matter of time before she relapsed.
She began smoking it at first, but I used needles, and since I always had needles around, it was only a matter of time before she started IV use.
We continued on our path of codependency and chemical dependency for a few months, spiraling ever deeper, and as far as I could tell, there was no way to stop it. I did not want to stop. We made it easier for each other to use, we enabled each other and fell ever deeper into the void.
She decided she wanted to quit. I had absolutely no plans of doing so, and one night I convinced her that we should get 'one last bag.'
It was certainly her last bag. We both overdosed that night. The last thing I remember was us sitting on the floor together, trying to find a vein. I woke up, injured and confused, about six hours later. She was on the floor next to me, eyes open and glazed, her cheeks blue. She was very obviously dead.
I called 911 and they instructed me to perform mouth to mouth resuscitation. I knew it was futile but I did it anyway. The sound of air escaping from her dead lungs is something I will never forget, and always relive.
So in my eyes, I had killed her. I took her down the road of IV use, provided the smack and the means to use it. She was 23.
I spiraled horribly. The next few years are mostly lost to me, as I was not sober for more than a couple hours here and there. I wanted to die and I knew it would happen. I cried often and did not seek help, instead choosing to isolate. I continued down this path for three or four years.
I don't really know how I got out of it, but I came out a different person. I was older, less confident, less warm, less caring, less loving, and less feeling. This was seven years ago now and I still struggle with addiction, and probably always will, but I gave up smack a couple years ago. I stopped being able to cry, I think the last time I cried was a few months after she died.
What happened that night, and what happened to me following it, has lead to some pretty severe PTSD, which I am now in therapy for. But I got out alive, she didn't, and she was the kinder, brighter, more loved and more loving one. I will never forgive myself, I just try not to think about it. Unfortunately, that is a luxury that I do not think is afforded to her family."
"It was around 2007, the end of October, and my dad and I were practicing pitching techniques. I played baseball and wanted to get better, so he got me one of those pitch-back nets that springs the ball back at you if you throw a strike. About 20 pitches in, then a 4-year-old kid ran out from behind the bushes and trees right in front of the net as I threw the ball. Dad yelled out, the kid turned towards him, and then bam, the pitch hit him in the sternum, and he was down on the ground in under a second. He stopped moving, stopped breathing, he just laid there, a kid who up until 10 seconds ago was just having fun playing with his brother and friends. My dad tried performing CPR to no avail, he had someone immediately called the paramedics the second he went down, but by the time they got there five minutes had passed. He had no oxygen going to his brain, and even if he could make it back with the AED, he would have had permanent brain damage. They said it was Commotio Cordis or 'heart agitation.' It is caused when a projectile causes the rhythm of a heartbeat to falter, leading to a cardiac arrest. The fatality rate of 65% even WITH CPR and a De-fib, and around 85% without. Only a 10-millisecond window for it to have happened, and it happened to me, a 5th grader.
After that hit, I went into shock. I wasn't sad, or angry, I didn't know what happened, honestly I think my brain said, 'He'll be fine, the adults will take care of him and he'll be okay by tomorrow, then you'll go over and say sorry.' 30 minutes later, my mom came into my room to tell me he had passed away. The next day at 8 am, I saw 3 news vans outside my house at the little playground where it happened. I didn't think anything of it until I went outside to sit on our porch, one of the newscasters came over after the camera was off and sat down next to me, asking if I thought I was going to be okay. I told him I didn't know, he said he was sorry, and then left. My family put me in therapy for a few weeks so I could talk about how I felt to someone. After going, I realized that I didn't even really feel anything. The doctor asked if I felt guilty or heard anything or saw anything weird, so as a 10-year-old who wanted to please adults I said I saw him in my dreams or something like that. The truth of the matter was that I just wanted to stay alone for a while and reflect. Think about everything, come to terms of what I did.
Next few years were rough, word got out in middle school around 7th grade that I killed a kid, and then I kept that ostracized title until high school. I lost friends, was called a monster, 13-year-old's really know how to throw insults. I think I was around 14/15 when I tried killing myself due to the fact that someone in high school found the article, told everyone about it, sent it through mass texts, and tried saying that I probably meant to kill him because I hated the kid's brother. (Side note, his brother WAS a moron. This 14-year-old stabbed me in the hand with a stick when I first met him; six months after his brother's death, he burned down a house trying to get high with his friends.) But who was going to believe the plea from someone who killed a child? I went to the school's counselor, she suggested dark humor, funny enough, worked out for me, we told a few dead kid jokes and she told me one of the best things I've ever heard. She said, 'Honestly, this isn't the type of stuff the administration is okay with, but if it works, and you feel better about yourself, come to terms with what you did, and never let anyone make you feel like a piece of garbage for doing it, well then, I feel like I did my job well, don't you? Listen, you can't take back what you did, nobody can, so you can either A: Sit around and let people ridicule you for it for the rest of your life, or B: Turn it into something that can't hurt you in the first place. I can't make that choice for you, but I can at least show you one of the ways out.' She was a nice lady. I still have her number saved in case I ever need an ear.
I'm not sure if it makes me a messed up person, but I found solace in comedy, and it really helped me. I still think about that kid every time I go out to play baseball with my friend, not a time goes by where I don't think about it at least once. I get asked a lot if it ever bothers me. And I shock a lot of people when I say that it doesn't. Maybe it's because I'm a sick person, maybe it's because that's just how I work. Either way, I'm happier now because of humor, even if it IS a little scuffed."
"Shortly after I got my license, I ended up in a very fast car. It was one which was far more powerful than I was used to, and far too powerful for me to be driving.
After working quite late, I went out to meet some friends. I picked them up and we all went out for a ride. Those of us that could drive had a shot at driving the car. We all took turns on the motorway, going fast and generally being stupid.
Afterward, we went into a quiet residential area. As I said, it was late, past midnight on a weekday, so the streets were empty. I was driving and as I approached a long straight road, I accelerated...simply to show off to my friends in the car. At one point, one of my friends asked me to slow down and I took my foot off the accelerator, but by that point, I was going far too fast and didn't realize that there was a part of the road which stuck out. I swerved to avoid it and lost control of the car. It flipped several times and hit a tree driver side on.
I don't remember much past this point, as I was badly injured as well, but I remember someone asking if everyone was OK, and then someone saying our friend's name and that he was bad... I turned to try and look behind me, and I saw his face. I heard his breathing... If you've ever heard what's called a death rattle then you'll know the sound, you never forget it. I didn't know at the time, but that's what it was.
He died almost instantly, and that was his body shutting down.
5 seconds before the accident, my actions felt inconsequential...we were having fun. Because of those actions, my actions, a teenager, a child in my eyes now, was taken from his parents, his family, those who loved him and cared for him. From his friends... From his life.
He was a couple of years younger than us, we took care of him, joked, laughed... Talked about the future. Our dreams, aspirations... I took those away from him and from the world. I destroyed a family and caused grief that should never be felt, to be felt every day by those who loved him. The pain I caused to my friends in the car that night, who close their eyes and see their friend dying, inches away. The pain I caused to my own family...
Shame. Shame, regret, and sorrow are what I feel. What I've felt every day for 16 years... He'd have been 32 years old this month. I think of him, that night and my actions every day. I have a photograph of him that is placed in my bedroom so that it's the first and last thing I see before I go to bed and when I wake up.
How do I cope? I don't think I can call it pain anymore, it's not pain. It's a part of me. And however I feel is inconsequential in comparison to the damage I've caused to others.
I'd be lying if I said I have an unhappy life. I was sent to prison for causing his death. Afterward, I managed to build something, I have a career, a home. I have a wonderful, supportive family. I have lovely friends from before the crash, and new ones who don't know my past. The two others who were with me are two of my closest and have their own children now.
I can sit here, I can type this with tears rolling down my cheeks... And then I'll go on with my day.
I now know that my actions have consequences. I wish I could have had that since then, but I can't.
If you read this, please please make sure that no matter what, always drive safely. If you don't, if you make the choices that I made, then those actions may have consequences as well."
"I was a resident in a hospital, my second year, I was leaving work, walking through the parking lot when a car almost ran me over. They 'parked' and a woman started yelling for help, I ran to her, and in the back seat there was her 13-year-old son, he had been hit by a bus. Now, I had my training, I had studied, I had all the knowledge, but when I heard a mother begging for the life of her son, I was dumb. I tried to pull the boy out of the car. I immediately felt my arm sinking into his ribcage. I knew it was over. The broken ribs perforated his lung, and a major artery (it was discovered upon his autopsy and a few other injuries that would've made recovery very difficult) When help arrived, I explained what had happened, the whole thing took no more than 30 seconds but it felt like forever, my boss told me to stick around and see what I had done. They tried, they tried really hard, and I saw it from the corner of the room, covered in blood.
I had to tell that woman her son wasn't coming home, and it was my fault. She sat down and looking at the wall in silence, empty.
I went home and drank everything I could get my hands on, I left the hospital a couple months after that. I couldn't get myself in a position where I could hurt anyone else and I was self-medicating constantly. I couldn't sleep, eat, or sit still. When I wasn't wasted, I was on something. It's been seven years and with therapy and the support of my friends, I've been getting over it, but sometimes when I'm about to fall asleep I can still feel my arm sinking into that boy's ribcage."
"I killed my best friend when I was younger. We were throwing pencil cases around and a scissor flew out of the pencil case and hit him in the side of the head. He didn't die instantly, he left the house and tried to go to a small clinic near the house, but he died on the way. He just fell down on the pavement and bam! He was dead. I was petrified, I couldn't move and I felt chills everywhere. I did deal with it kinda well. I talked to his family and did everything in my power to help them cope, and they did the same thing with me, considering I was still a small child myself. They helped me a lot, and I hope I helped them too, even if in minor ways. I'll sometimes remember it and burst down in tears, but when that happens, I just try and occupy myself either by playing video games, drawing, or writing."
"I was 17 or 18 at the time. I was going to school at my local Community College to get my high school diploma. I didn't do well in high school so this was a good alternative. Illegal substances and drinks and friends got in the way at my high school. I was always looking for ways to get high or wasted.
I had a pretty good supply of prescription medications I was able to get my hands on as well. At the time, pills were hitting the scene pretty heavily in my neighborhood and with all my friends. Before too long, I became interested. So with a way to get the money for the $70 pill, I got a bunch of the 'meds' and sold them to an adult acquaintance. I went through with buying the pills and so began my downward spiral of addiction. That's a story of its own. I went and got high with friends and went on as normal. Sometime in the following days, I was at school and I got a call from an old girlfriend at my old high school saying that the person I had sold the 'meds' to had died and there were texts from me in his phone. She had told me that word was going around that I was going to go to jail for manslaughter. I was instantly in shock.
The worst thing is that I had a presentation that would determine if I could continue with the program to get my diploma. I could hardly gather myself to finish the day. I barely made it through but I was able to get it done. After I got home, I spent the next month or two avoiding everyone. Everyone I heard a car drive by my house, my heart would drop and I knew I was going to jail or prison. No one ever came. I was never contacted by anyone to this day. I slowly started to leave my house again and see my friends. A friend from my high school was best friends with the guy. I avoided him at all cost. Until one day it was unavoidable. He came up and we started talking about the situation. I couldn't even look at him. After all of my worry, he told me he held no hard feelings towards me. He told me that this guy was an adult who decided to get high on these 'meds' and drink extensively, then got behind the wheel. I still don't know all the details but that whole ordeal messed me up for a long time. I continued to use for a long time. Like I said, that's a story of its own. I now have 5+ years clean and live a great family life with my girlfriend and child."
"I met my best friend in prison. We were vastly different but both came from around the same area and had a lot of mutual friends, so we started talking and spending more time together. It took him a while to really come out and tell me what he was there for.
He and his older brother were super close. They did everything together. Including drinking. They went out to a bar one night and got pretty wasted. His brother received a text about a party that was going on about 15 minutes from the bar and they decided to go. While on the way to the party, they got into a really bad accident. As soon as he woke up to his mother crying in the hospital, his first question was 'where is Josh?' His mother then informed him that Josh didn't make it. I'm super close to my brothers and can't even imagine coming to that realization.
Once he got out of the hospital, the police charged and convicted him with involuntary manslaughter as if knowing you killed your only sibling wasn't punishment enough. He got two years in prison. It's still super sad when I go to his house to see all the pictures and his depressed mom. I always compliment her and give her a hug. I feel like I am a son of sorts to her but obviously cannot replace anything she lost.
My friend is a really strong individual (physically and mentally) because I know if that happened to me, I would have offed myself a long time before I even went to prison for this. Please think before you decide to drink and drive."