- Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:26 am
From my experience(s), it's not a matter of repayment - it's just making sure that certain people know that you're there for them in good times and bad. I'm a 'life's too short for regrets' sort of person, but like all of us, I carry baggage. Let me give you an example.
Years ago, I was strolling through the town towards a favourite pub, when I spied my friend (the barman) through the window with a face like slapped arse, depressing everything within range. I thought "Bollocks to that!" and walked on to an alternative hostelry in search of a happier atmosphere. He hung himself that night. On his birthday. Now it's too late for him, and maybe he'd have done it anyway (the birthday business chimed in with his sense of logic), but I'm never going to cross the road again if I see someone I know looking miserable.
But do you know the one I really feel guilty about? I come from what used to be known as a broken home. My Mancunian uncle went out of his way to make sure I knew that I could call him day or night, whatever the reason, and while he couldn't promise to sort it out (he probably could have done, he was well-connected), he'd give me a bloody good listening to. Hard as nails, he was, dragged himself up from a grubby cobbled street in Salford to a very comfortable life indeed, never forgetting where he came from - in fact he was so proud of it, he'd regularly take us there. Anyway, he died fairly young, and I never did pick up that phone (I can still remember the 061 number). But then, maybe knowing that there was somebody there was enough. That when the big one hit the fan, I could have phoned the old bugger at stupid O'clock and said "Hello, Unc. I've really fucked up this time..."
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that sometimes all we can do for people is just be there, and make sure that they know that. It's all we can do.