It is really true when it is said youth is wasted on the young. When I was 17 I was emotionally arrogant with selfish dreams of leaving my hometown and my life there far behind me. I achieved my goal by going far away to college and saying goodbye to everything, including my boyfriend. My shame in this is that I didn’t tell him. I neglected or maybe just didn’t have the heart to tell him, my dreams were beyond a life in Steubenville. He thought I would be back.

But that is not the worst of it. I wrote him a “Dear John” letter from college about six weeks into my first semester. I didn’t know he had already bought a ring to surprise me at Christmas.

Hindsight eventually allowed me the privilege of seeing that I was young and just plain selfish and really, really stupid and above all, extremely insensitive. And that is not the worst of it.

A few weeks after that letter I awoke from a horrible dream that my boyfriend was driving at night down Market Street Hill, the main artery into our downtown, and was hurt in a terrible accident. The dream was so real, it was hard for me to shake off, so when my brother came to visit me from his college the next weekend, I told him about my dream.

“Sandra. It happened. I didn’t want to tell you, but he was drinking and had an accident just like you described.”

And so, my guilt about my letter and breaking this nice boy’s heart with my careless attitude about our relationship began and has never left me to this day – of being responsible for his physical and emotional hurting.

I did see him that Christmas, but only once and never again. I was told that he owned a business and finally married a local girl and had two children. Knowing him, he probably forgave me. I am sure I was the farthest thing from his mind two minutes after he met and fell in love again. But I have never forgiven myself.

This morning I got a message from my cousin that my high school boyfriend died this week. On my birthday.