woman sitting on wooden planks

( Intermediate Level )

Melissa has taken full blame for what happened to her younger brother Frank. He, as any younger brother would do, bugged her to let him tag along with her and her friend to the lake to swim.

She should’ve said no. She should have told him he was too young and she didn’t have time to watch over him. She should have but she didn’t. Now she lives with the guilt.

The guilt that would eat her up inside. The guilt that her parents separated shortly after her brother, Frank, drowned.

Nothing will change what happened but maybe she could make a difference . Somehow. Some way.

Melissa would sit hours ,at the lake, talking to her brother, as if he could hear her. “Frank, I miss you. I miss you annoying me to watch something on TV fully knowing I was deeply interested in what I was watching.”

Mom and Dad aren’t together anymore. Dad is having a terrible time dealing with the fact he lost you. Mom stays to herself and barely talks to me. I only have you ,kiddo. Are you upset with me too?”

She knew she wouldn’t hear an answer. It made her feel better just being there. Her schoolwork suffered and her friends gave up trying to talk or come over.

That day keeps playing in her head over and over again. “Melissa….help…help….” Each scream she had ignored him thinking he was goofing around.

Little did she know he had gone into the water while her and her friends were up by the car listening to music. He went out a little too far where he couldn’t touch the bottom. He panicked.

He was told not to go into the water when she wasn’t there to watch him. Like usual he hadn’t listened. She should have been more responsible.

Years had passed and Melissa moved away to attend college. Somehow, she managed to get through school. Her high school years were a big blur.

Once a year she returns home on the anniversary of her little brother’s death. She sits on the docks and fills her brother in on all she had done over the past year.

The hurt she felt has subsided to a dull pang in her heart now. Her mother has forgiven her for not being more responsible that day.

Her dad, also, had moved back home after a year. Each needed their time and way to heal. Melissa, too, had chosen to volunteer at the local YMCA giving swimming lessons to the youth.

She told her brother once at one of her visits, “See Frank, good things can come out of bad. Mom and dad are closer than they have ever been.

“I am getting stronger as the years pass. I tell the kids that little brothers or sisters can be a pain but you are lucky to have them. I miss you Frank. “

Written By: Angel

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Thoughts From Angel:

Guilt will consume every ounce of your being. To heal you must forgive yourself. Forgiving is not forgetting, it is just a vessel to move forward.

If you appreciate what I do:


tag along – verb: to follow another

eat her up – idiom: to bother or be obsessed

goofing– verb: spend time idly or foolishly

responsible – adjective: obligation

blur – noun: unclear

anniversary – noun: the date on which an event took place

subsided – verb: become less intense

pang – noun: painful emotion

volunteer – verb: freely offer to do something

Question ( s ):

Was Melissa responsible for her younger brother’s death?

Do you believe time heals all wounds?

Should Melissa forgive herself?