Samara O'Shea

Err on the Side of Writing the Letter

Recently I found out a friend of mine lost her baby. I was heartbroken to hear the news. We aren’t best friends or even super close friends, but we are certainly friends. We once worked together and had many meaningful girl talks as coworkers. We’ve kept in touch via social media but we’ve never spoken on the phone. For that reason, I didn’t feel calling her was the right course of action, and I wasn’t going to send an “I’m sorry to hear,” through Facebook (the fact that I’ve temporarily given it up notwithstanding). Writing a letter was the obvious thing to do, but it still frightened me. This is a different kind of sympathy card. In sympathy cards I try to celebrate the life that was, and in this case you have to address the life that never was. I faced my fear and I wrote. When it was finished I was still self-conscious. What if it makes her feel worse? I thought. No, not doing anything is by far the worst course. I mailed the letter.

I received an overwhelmingly heartfelt, authentic, joyous thank you for the letter. It had me in tears. Even I need to be reminded sometimes: just write the damn letter. Forget your fears and write.