Who the hell is Jeanne Marie Laskas? Before today I didn't know either. You see, I'm a bit behind on my toilet reading material, which is why I'm just now reading the Ask Laskas column from the Reader's Digest December 2007 edition. Normally I don't give this column much time, but the first question really caught my eye.
Q: I just found an e-mail address for my first girlfriend, someone I treated poorly. I'm happily married -- so is she -- and I have no romantic interest in her. It's been years, but my conscience bothers me. Should I write and apologize?
That could very easily have been written by the boy who dumped me after my senior year of high school. I have always wanted to talk to him about what happened and have never had the courage to reach out and contact him. The only contact info. I have for him is his father's phone number and while I've thought about it for years, I've never come up with the right words to say to either of them. So I was fairly interested in her reply.
A: Dear Troubled,
So you feel guilty--deal with it without burdening her. Dump this on a priest or a shrink or someone who can help you find resolution. She got over the old you years ago; maybe it's time you d id too.
What an absolutely Christian position to take. Just go to a priest and pray about it. Get forgiveness from god. And just to cover the people who don't believe in god she suggests alternatively he could go to a psychiatrist and resolve his old issues there. *rolls eyes*
According to Laskas, it's too late. You can't go back and you can't make things right.
And to that I say "BULLSHIT!" If you've wronged somebody, it doesn't matter how long ago it was, you go the person and say, "hey, I fucked up and I'm sorry I hurt you."
When I was in high school I treated my best friend like shit our senior year and we drifted apart. I felt horrible about it for years and years afterwards and finally contacted her and said, "Look, I was shitty to you our senior year and I'm really sorry. I don't even know why I acted that way, and I shouldn't have. You didn't deserve it and I really wanted you to know I'm sorry."
It's never too late to say you're sorry, unless the person is dead. Until they croak, you can always apologize. Even if they've completely forgotten they are going to be flattered that your conscience bothered you that long and you finally talked to them about it. If they haven't forgotten, maybe it will help them move on with their life too. It may not fix things, it may not mean you will be friends again, but it helps you get on with your life.
And THAT'S how you get over things. You don't go whimpering to a complete stranger about a mistake you made with another person. You find the other person and tell them you're sorry.