DEAR HARRIETTE: I just spent time with some women who are friends with someone I grew up with. I used to be close to this friend’s mother, and I would talk to her from time to time over the years, but we lost touch with each other. I learned from these women that my friend’s mom is in poor health and her daughter is taking care of her. I want to reach out to say hello, but I also feel terrible that I haven’t reached out in several years. Do you think they will appreciate my call, or will they be resentful that it seems like I forgot about them? -- Want to Reach Out
DEAR WANT TO REACH OUT: My vote is for reaching out right away. In this moment, you are thinking about this family and knowing that they are suffering. Your pleasant call will likely bring them joy. Instead of bemoaning how long it has been since you spoke, focus on the here and now. Tell them that you have been thinking about them and that you are so happy to be in touch.
If you can speak directly to the mom and she has her faculties, tell her about your life and your family. She will likely enjoy hearing about anything joyful that you can share. Ask her how she is doing. Listen to her tell you whatever is on her mind. Sometimes older people will dwell on their ailments. Other times, they will reminisce about family. It could even happen that she could chastise you for not calling sooner. Whatever she says, offer her love, and commit to being in touch more often. If you can, it would be great for you to follow up with both of them in the coming months. Who knows how long the mom will be here? It is wonderful for you to stay connected now.