To all who love me,
I am sorry. I have caused pain. I shared my misery with you, caring little for the effect it had on you. I have, through my actions and inaction, been a burden to you. For that, I offer my sincerest apologies and ask your forgiveness.
Perhaps I don’t deserve that. It may be that the problems I created are too great, my transgressions against you too numerous, to ever be forgiven. The magnitude of my failure is not something I can measure, so I must place all of you in the position to judge as you see fit. In this, I ask nothing more than a fair trial, no matter the ultimate verdict.
In my defense, I will say that, at every faltering step of this journey, I chose what I thought to be the safest path for us all. The path of least resistance, sometimes, but always the path I believed held the least pain for everyone involved. My error, then, was one of measurement. What I thought to be hurtful instead proved a chance to learn, to grow, to experience, and I turned away. I hid from the pain like a child, rather than facing the opportunity like a man. I never claimed to be perfect, and this is one of my greatest imperfections. To err is human, as the saying goes, and I am only human.
You who love me do something that I feel I am no longer capable of doing. Time has worn me down. My thoughts have darkened, my world turned black. I accept this only because I know of no other way to live. All my attempts at changing, at rising from the hole in which I find myself, have ended in failure. If a future exists for me, a path that will lead me to at least a modicum of victory or indeed joy, I cannot find it alone. I need to be pointed in the right direction, spurred into motion, and probably even carried halfway. Otherwise, I would lack the strength and conviction, and this, above all, is my deepest shame.
I had dreams of brighter days, fantastic visions I wished to make real. Though I have caused you great pain, greater still is that which I have caused myself by letting those dreams die. If you still believe they can be resurrected, I beg your help in reviving them.
That, I would say, is my true purpose tonight. I have spoken and asked. Now, I beg and plead, as a humble penitent seeking some measure of absolution. My desire was always to give hope to the world. Yet, in so doing, I have kept none for myself, and I am now in need.
Some love me in the manner of family: as a brother, a son, a nephew, a cousin. For all of you, I am sorry that I have burdened you, that I have neglected to honor you and our family as you deserve.
Others love me as a friend, though never as many as I would have liked. For you, I am sorry that the bonds of friendship have, for too long, bound in only one direction.
One loves me in the romantic sense. For you, words are not enough to convey my apologies, and yet words are all we have. I could write a book whose pages were filled only with “I’m sorry” repeated ad nauseam, but that still would never be enough to cover all the mistakes I have made.
For everyone, I know what I have done. I recognize the negative factor I have become. My first, and thus far only, reaction to that recognition has been to retreat ever further. That is my one defense, my only escape. I realize how much pain it causes. I always have, but I also thought it was a lesser pain, that staying close would be worse for all of us. While one man cannot bear all these burdens, I felt that sharing them would drag us all under rather than give me the strength to overcome them.
I was wrong. I wish I had understood that sooner. Now, I fear it may be too late, so all I can do is reiterate my request. Forgive me, please, for all I have done.