Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia
I have a memory that haunts me.
Ten years ago (long before being a paranormal romance author), I worked at a large retail store, was going to college, and was filled with the joy of life. A young man whom I had known growing up, walked through the doors and seeing me, waved and eagerly approached. His hair was dirty and disheveled, his clothes ratty and torn, but he smiled.
Though I was at work, we chatted as I showed him around the store. He told me he was still living at home with his Grandmother, whom had adopted him when his mother had lost custody. With sadness in his eyes, he told me about a few things going on in his life, that weren't working out.
I felt immeasurable pity for my peer. But after a few minutes, I needed to return to work. Before he would let me go, he shoved his phone number, cell number and email address in my hand.
That night I went home, still thinking about the conversation. He seemed so desperate and needy and I decided not to call him. I didn't need any more drama in my life. I had homework, school, work, social engagements, and problems of my own...my time was precious.
We had caught up, what else could be left to say?
About four months later, I received a call from another friend. The young man who had
barely fallen short of begging me to be his friend had been found in his grandmother's
house--after he had committed suicide.
At 18, I had missed the truth of his situation. Yet I cannot shake the feeling that if I would have only called him back, if I would have made room in my life, if I would have just lent a helping hand, the young man would have still been alive. After that phone call, my life changed. I began responding to people who reached out, I try to listen to those who have problems they need to share, and the most important thing I have learned is that it only takes a moment to turn a life around.