Today, of course, is the 13th anniversary of September 11. Other than taking a moment to remember the horror and loss of that day, I won’t write about it here; that ground has already been covered so thoroughly – and well – by people far more eloquent than I am.
But I have been thinking about a brief exchange I had earlier this week with someone who’s been out of my life for a long time – someone for whom I once cared deeply and treated shabbily. I am not ashamed of much in my life, but this particular situation is an exception (though anyone who’s ever seen me dance at a wedding may reasonably feel I should be ashamed a little more often).
In any event, I recently found out that this guy’s mom – still a relatively young woman and someone I had gotten to know during my time with him – had passed away.
I debated for a long time about whether to reach out to him with condolences. Things had, as you’ve probably gathered, ended badly between us (100% my fault), and I didn’t know whether my sudden reappearance in his life might just be rubbing salt in an old wound at a particularly inopportune time.
(This is not to overstate my perceived importance in his current life, which I estimate as something below that of a gnat buzzing around his living room. I’m reasonably certain, however, that if I ever do cross his mind he’s not flooded with warm fuzzies.)
Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should say something, so I bit the bullet and sent him an email with my brief but sincere condolences. I thought it quite likely that I’d hear nothing back, but I did. He appreciated my reaching out. He also said he was grateful that he had nothing left unsaid with his mom.
Our exchange ends here, I think, but his point is a very apt one: If you’ve got something to say to someone, say it. Even if you’re not sure they want to hear it. Even if it doesn’t seem to be the best time, or if you don’t feel you’re the best person to do so. Even if you think you might get hung up on…or roundly ignored. Even if you feel silly.
Just say it. You never know when you might not get another chance.