Are you really sorry?
Yeah, I really put my foot in it. I made some inane comment in response to that news, he wandered off and I went back inside my flat. But just what do you say to that?
My mum said that I should have said “Oh I’m sorry.”
To me, sorry is something you should say when it’s “sorry” for something you’ve done. If I knock someone with my wheelchair I’ll say sorry, if I’m rude to someone I’ll (probably) say sorry. I say sorry to my colleagues at citizens advice (where I work) for having to pass me things and do extra stuff for me because of my CP so much that I think it drives them crazy. But I think that you shouldn’t say sorry to soemone when what you’re apologising for is something which happened to them but has nothing to do with you is silly and annoying.
I once read a caringbridge page where the mother of a terminally ill baby wrote (I’m paraphrasing here) that her and her husband find knowing what to say when people ask “how are you” hard. She said though that they know that what “how are you” really means is they are saying what is expected of them after they’ve said hello. I think the same is true of the way “sorry” is used.
People will ask me “why are you in that wheelchair” and I’ll explain… they’ll be “sorry” People who treat my CP will ask if I have other medical conditions and I’ll say that I’m on medication for depression. They’ll be “sorry”.
But I don’t think they are really sorry, I think they say it because they don’t understand.
I have CP, I’ve always had CP and I always will. All it is, is a part of me. I’ve never known any different and it’s not something I’m sorry about. And I also have depression which at times sucks so much. The thing is though, depression too has shaped who I am and the experiences I’ve had which make me the girl I am. Yes I could probably have done without it but what I realise now is that if I hadn’t of developed depression a few years ago my life since then wouldn’t have been the same. I love the flat where I’m living, I have good carers and good friends, I’ve really got back into my writing and I adore my job. If I didn’t have depression or CP my life wouldn’t be what it is now. And I wouldn’t give my job up for anything.
So if we talk about my medical problems and you don’t know what to say, don’t be sorry. Admit that you don’t understand and ask sensible questions. Because you’re not really sorry, I know that. Anyway, I don’t need your pity, all I need is your friendship.