Sometimes being sorry, and, more importantly, saying the simple, but oh, so hard to pronounce words “I’m sorry” can go very far in fixing a relationship.
The worst response to this is, “As well you should be.”
In order to mend things, an apology needs to be accepted.
But there are times when all the apologies in the world can’t mend things. Sometimes the damage is irreparable.
it was 1965, and I was twelve years old. There was a six-year-old boy named Herby in my building. He was like a little brother to me; I was like a big sister to him.
We would sit on the stoop together, and I would read to him.
Now, this part is hard to write without sounding a bit … unkind. Herby’s mother was what you might call a hypochondriac…. not about her own health, but about Herby’s. She took his temperature every day, and if he coughed or sneezed, she called the doctor.
One day Herby told me that his teacher had read the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” to the class that afternoon, and it scared him.
“My Mom keeps calling the doctor when I’m not sick,” Herby said. “What if someday I really am sick, and the doctor doesn’t come?”
Herby’s words turned out to be prophetic.
One night, the doctor didn’t come.
Herby really was sick that night with what turned out to be croup.
One of the neighbors called another doctor, but by the time he arrived, it was too late.
I can’t begin to imagine the regret, the remorse, the guilt the doctor must have felt; how deeply, terribly contrite he must have been.
I wonder if he ever forgave himself.