Is it too late to say I now understand his pain?

DEAR HARRIETTE: My good friend lost his father about a year ago. I did my best to be there for him when he needed to talk, but now I realize that was not even close to enough. I just lost my father, and I am devastated.

Harriette Cole

I know it was a blessing to have him for so long. Many people lose their parents when they are young. Still, my dad was everything for me, and now he’s gone. Every day my heart aches.

A couple of friends reach out regularly to check on me. I don’t even know if I was that attentive to this particular friend, who is very important to me. I feel like I want to say something now and apologize for not understanding how much he may have needed me last year.

Do you think it would be OK to say something? I understand now.

Closing the Loop

DEAR CLOSING THE LOOP: You should reach out to your friend.

Let him know that your father recently passed away and that his departure brought your thoughts back to him. Acknowledge that you had no idea how deeply the pain can reach with the loss of one’s parent. Tell your friend that while you hope you provided some solace for him during those early days of grief, you suspect that it wasn’t nearly enough. Apologize if you fell short for him.

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