Not just the merry parts easily spoken
I routinely get emails for a couple other women named Deborah.
I don’t usually read more than a sentence or two of their emails. Once I realize I’m not the intended recipient for a letter, I shoot off a short note letting its sender know they’ve gotten the wrong Deborah. I’d like others to do the same so I can get my emails to their intended recipients.
Only once did I read the whole letter.
Its sender forwarded a letter from his doctor. The opening explained that his doctor–who had become a friend–had urged him to open up about his cancer to his partner, his Deborah,because he didn’t have much more time and she deserved to know. She deserved to be part of all his life, not just the merry parts easily spoken.
The sender wrote that he’d struggled with whether or not to send such a letter before agreeing with his doctor. Before gathering up the courage to write it, explaining his earlier silence, and then actually send it.
I mulled over the letter for a long time.
I should never have read it.
But I did read it.
Was it better to let him know of his mistake and not touch on the content at all? Or should I say something, anything, because sometimes it’s all you can do to make the leap into cold, scary waters once and maybe he’d need a little encouragement leaping again?
In the end, I couldn’t just return it like I would a notification of a preschool closure or weekend picnic.
I wanted him to know this random Deborah, the wrong Deborah, had read. Had heard. And hoped.
This Deborah wrote back, approximately:
You meant this for another Deborah. I hope you send it to yours.
He never replied, but I didn’t email him expecting a response.
It’s been months since I thought about that letter meant for another Deborah.
It might have been many more months, too, but for a blog notification in my inbox today.
“On Misdirected Emails,” I read aloud as I was catapulted back through time.
Revisiting that one misdirected email, I wonder anew. More than that,
I hope he sent it to his Deborah.
What do you do with letters in your inbox not meant for you?