Who’s Sorry Now

Who’s sorry now? ~ Connie Francis

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Sorry (adj): feeling or expressing regret, compunction, sympathy, for an action


When I was was 13 my brother had a terrible cycling accident and was taken to hospital. I remember the police arriving at home, I remember going to the hospital with my mum, and afterwards I remember her saying the first thing he said to her when she want in to see him was “Sorry, mum”

Fast forward. I’m 41  I’m going to the same hospital to see my mum and the first thing she says to me when I get to her bed and she knows I am there is “I’m sorry”

My brother had been sorry for damaging his bike, for upsetting mum, for causing worry. Now my mum is concerned about causing upset, fearing worry, taking up our time.

Yet, as I sit there, sometimes with friends or with siblings, sometimes alone, mum talks. She talks about her funeral, she talks about what hymns she might like and what she wants us to do, and she talks her own mother and when she died. And she says the most extraordinary thing, “It’s life, we just don’t have time, we’re all so busy…. I came home, I cooked you all tea. And I got a call from the care home to say that she’d died”

My mum was apologising to me, to all of us, for taking up our time, causing worry, yet also thinking to a time when she was sorry, when she gave all the time she could, to her elderly mother but also to her family.

No, mum, I’m sorry. We’re sorry. You no more chose to have an incurable degenerative disease than my brother chose to have a bicycle accident, or grandmother chose to get old.

I’m lucky, I know. My mum be in an awful place with her MS and that is never getting better. It’s not news. She was diagnosed 32 years and it’s been a slow insidious creep that has ended up here. But she is still here. I’m poignantly heartbeakingly aware of those who don’t have that, those whose parents have died, those whose children have died, friends gone too soon. And the awful inevitability of time.

So I’m sorry. For all those times I wasn’t around, for when I didn’t think, for when I could’ve been better. Yet at the same time I’m not sorry because like mum said it’s life. There is never enough time. All we can do is choose how we spend it and who we spend it with.









Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

“Sorry seems to be the hardest word.” ~ Elton John

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Sorry (adj) : feeling feeling or expressing regret, compunction, sympathy, for an action


Is sorry the hardest word to say? Is it really? Have you tried saying antidisestablishmentarianism recently? Try it, it’s a lot harder.

Of course, it’s not about the word itself. It’s about what it means. It’s about admitting fault or wrongdoing and taking responsibility for damage caused.

But the fact remains that people do seem to get into a terrible flap about apologies. Some never apologise, some do it all the time, even when there is nothing to apologise for and then it can become a tool for self-flagellation.

I recently needed to apologise to a friend over a minor mishap regarding some incorrect information. The fault was mine and, even though no damage had been done or unfortunate incidents occurred, I wanted to hold my hand up to the error and say sorry. I started typing a message “I owe you an apology”

And then I stopped.

Saying I owe you an apology is not saying sorry. Saying I must apologise is not an apology. To say sorry say I’m sorry: to apologise say I apologise. And that is the end of the sentence. Explanations, reasons, these can come after. If it matters, if it’s important, if you mean it, then just say you’re sorry.

It might be the damage that has been caused can’t be forgiven, can’t be mended. That, actually, isn’t up to you. All you can do it is say sorry, mean it, act it. The recepient of your transgression has the choice whether to accept your apology, to forgive, to move on. But isn’t it better to take that risk, accept the responsibility and apologise, than leave that hurt or confusion or damage unaddressed?

As it happens, my friend had barely registered what had occured and took my apology willingly and without concern. I can’t guarantee it will always be that easy. But if you think you have done wrong, if you think you need to say you’re sorry, then take a deep breath and say it.