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Regret lives forever

Sarah Gatens | Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Maggy Garcia was one of the most beautiful people you could ever meet, inside and out. She had an absolutely radiant smile, oozed an infectiously positive personality and you’d never know anyone who could light up a room until you met her. Maggy Garcia, I am lucky to say, was a dear friend of mine. I have an innumerable amount of fond memories of growing up with her that I will cherish forever.

Maggy Garcia died last weekend very suddenly and unexpectedly. I imagine that many of you have experienced the pain and suffering that I am going through right now. Losing someone you love is never easy, but it seems that much more difficult to deal with when it is someone your own age, like Maggy.

Being young, we tend to approach life with a sort of wild, joyous confidence and sense of invincibility. We rarely stop to truly appreciate that every day, every moment, is a gift. Here at Notre Dame, however, we are perhaps more acutely aware than most of our generation of how suddenly fate can change. Within our Domer family alone, we have had too many tragic incidents, from Marcus Garcia’s accident last week that still has us holding our breaths, to the tragic losses that overshadowed our campus just last year.

My message to you today, however, goes beyond a simple call for appreciating life and never taking our blessings for granted.

While already suffering from the loss of my friend this weekend, I came across something that shattered what was left of my heart. While perusing the various farewell messages on Maggy’s Facebook wall this weekend, I was struck by one in particular. A college friend of Maggy’s was expressing her regret for the way they had last parted, just a few days before Maggy’s death. Though she did not give details of the disagreement, she wrote, “I know you know I didn’t mean the horrible words I said to you, but I hate knowing that I will now never be able to take them back. Please, please forgive me.”

If I have one goal in life, it is to die with no regrets. All in all, I’d have to say that I’ve lived up to that goal relatively well thus far. However, I’d never before this weekend really considered what it would be like to have regrets about my relationship with someone if they were to pass away.

Just like we all have good friends, there’s no denying that we all probably have a few not-so-good friends. I’ll be the first to admit that there are several people in my life and on this campus alone with whom I have had a rough past and harbor strong resentment toward.

However, after this weekend, I have been inspired to challenge myself, and all of you who read this, to let it go. Let go of your anger. Let go of your old grudges. It’s a thousand times easier to smile at someone than it is to scowl. Think twice before shooting someone a dirty look or a cruel remark. What if that was the last thing you said to them? Whatever your harsh feelings are in the moment, it’s not worth a lifetime of regret.

To all who may read this with whom I have a negative past (you know who you are): I hereby absolve you of all the faults that I have ever held against you. From this point forward, I consider our relationship a clean slate and hope that you may find it within yourself to extend me the same courtesy, in hopes that we may move forward as at least gentle, amicable acquaintances.

To Maggy: Rest in peace, you beautiful girl. Thank you, through life and now even through death, for teaching me the virtues and wisdom that made you such a wonderful person.

It’s not goodbye. It’s, “I’ll see you later.”

Sarah Gatens


off campus

Aug. 29