This is a story that is very hard for me to tell. As a matter of fact, this is really one of the only times I've told this story. A few years back, I met a girl while at the local community college. She was absolutely awesome. She was just tremendous and just an absolutely beautiful girl, in so many ways. We started to hang out. Then it started to get a little serious. We started to date. Only one problem was I was in the JW's. I still believed for the most part at that time. Plus how would my family react to this news? I didn't want to risk destroying my family ties for some girl who I didn't know how serious it was actually going to get. I never told anybody about her. Not my JW friends and most certainly not my family. I hid the relationship as well as I could. We pretty much only hung out by ourselves or with her group of friends (and a couple of people I knew that weren't JW's and I knew I could trust).
Well within the first month and a half she wanted to know why I rarely brought any of my friends around or why I never introduced her to my family. I tried to explain the situation to her, the reasons why I couldn't. She didn't understand. She thought I was making the whole thing up. She thought maybe I was embarrased by her or something. You have to keep in mind that she battled depression which led to self-esteem issues. So it was pretty rough. I did my best to assure her that I did care about her and that at this time I just couldn't. Despite the rough patch there we kept on seeing eachother.
We continued to grow closer until we were together about 7 months. Around this time I was seriously considering letting my family know about the relationship. Then disaster struck. I knew she had been a little depressed lately. It was normal for her to go through bouts of depression. About 11 o clock one night, I turned my phone off as I usually do and went to sleep. So I wake up the next morning and turn my phone on. I had missed three calls from her as well as about 5 text messages. She left me a voicemail. I checked the voicemail. She said while crying, "I wanted to talk with you but it's obvious you don't really care that much about me so this is goodbye." I didn't know what to think at this point. I thought maybe she was just breaking off the relationship. Then I checked a second voicemail that had been left. It was from her sister. She was in the hospital and had overdosed on anti-depressant medication. So I run to the hospital get there and find out she had died.
That was the absolute worst moment of my life as you can surely imagine. The guilt I felt was absolutely crushing. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. I had spurts where I felt like my chest was caving in and I couldn't breathe. If I had just disclosed the relationship, everything would have been fine. None of her family and friends really knew the real situation, I don't think. They pretty much knew she had been upset about an argument or a disagreement she had with me. They never did blame me though. I tried to tell her sister that it was my fault. She told me not to blame myself for it. I tried to pin the blame on myself but she wouldn't have any of it. Her sister said "She had depression. Sometimes there is nothing you can do. The only thing you can do when something like this happens is just dwell on the good times because it doesn't do any good looking at the past with regrets." Those words brought me some comfort.
We were both 18. It's been a little over three years since then. I still feel guilty about it. I've not dated anyone since either. I don't know when I'll be able to bring myself to do it either. I don't know why it's taken me this long with the whole situation, but I've only recently begun to fade as a JW. I don't think I'll ever be able to tell my JW family about this because I don't think any good will come of it. Well that's my story. I thank all of you for listening.