My son’s birthday party is this weekend and I’ve been trying to finalize attendance. I sent out an Evite but still have a number of outstanding responses. Nothing makes me madder than people who don’t RSVP—especially when I sent out two requests with a deadline. Anyway, it showed that a handful of people never viewed the invitation. So I reached out to them directly thinking maybe it went to Spam. One mom apologized and said she never got it. Unfortunately her son was already going to another party that same day, but she didn’t know if he could attend that one either because of her chemo treatments. What?
My mind raced back to the email my son’s day care sent out months ago about a fundraiser for a family at the center. I remember one of the moms was diagnosed with cancer but I couldn’t remember much more. I had a lot going on with work at the time and was getting ready to pull my son out because I had decided to leave my job. At that point I was mentally checked out and didn’t pay that close attention to happenings at the center. I think I skimmed the email for details but we had another commitment and couldn’t attend. So I went back through my inbox and found the email. It was in fact this mom, and her son was in my son’s class. A friend of his. Whose mom I had seen many times since the news was shared. And I had no clue.
I felt terrible. I wish I had paid better attention. I kind of thought it was for a family that I didn’t know. Not that it should make a difference. It was someone in my community at my son’s day care. It’s close to home and I regret not making an effort to help. Sometimes I get so caught up in my own life that I miss things. Big things. I debated about what to do. I had already written her back that I was sorry her son couldn’t come, we’d miss him, and I hoped she was feeling OK.
But I felt that I needed to say more.
I couldn’t stop thinking about her and it was tearing me up inside. But I worried that it was too late to say anything. The note came out months ago so would it be weird to reach out to her now? And what would I say? I’m so sorry to hear that you’re sick? I didn’t realize it was you?
Even though I’m a writer sometimes words fail me—it’s hard to know what’s appropriate to say in times like these. But I did what I thought was right. I sent her an email acknowledging that I never realized she was sick. I told her I felt terrible that I’d seen her and didn’t know to ask how she was feeling. I told her if she ever needed a break she was more than welcome to drop her son off at my house anytime. I re-read it countless times before sending, wondering if I said the right things. Then I went to her Go Fund Me page and made a donation, something I also meant to do at the time but never got around to it. Sigh.
I haven’t heard from her yet and that’s OK. Even if she doesn’t respond to my note that’s OK too. I just wanted her to know I was there for her and thinking about her. Yes I feel bad that I dropped the ball, but I tried to make it right. Too often pride or fear get in the way. But that shouldn’t stop us from saying what’s in our hearts. I don’t think it’s ever too late to let someone know you care. It’s never too late.