Please don’t be too surprised in getting a letter from me. I am signing only my first name. My surname is the same as yours.
You won’t even remember me. Last year I was in your hospital, under the care of another doctor. I lost my baby the day it was born.
That same day my doctor came in to see me, and as he left he said, “Oh, by the way, there is a doctor here with the same surname as yours who noticed your name on the board, and asked me about you. He said he would like to come in to see you because you might be a relative. I told him you had lost your baby and I didn’t think you would want to see anybody.” But I told him it was all right for me.
And then in a little while, you came in. You put your hand on my arm and sat down for a moment beside my bed. You didn’t say much of anything, but your eyes and your voice were kind, and pretty soon I felt better. As you sat there I noticed that you looked tired and that the lines in your face were very deep. I never saw you again but the nurses told me you were in the hospital practically night and day.
This afternoon I was a guest in a beautiful Chinese home. The garden was enclosed by a high wall, and on one side, surrounded by twining red and white flowers, was a brass plate about two feet long. I asked someone to translate the Chinese characters on it for me. They said:
Enjoy Yourself – It Is Later Than You Think
I began to think about it myself. I had not wanted another baby because I was still grieving for the one I lost. But I decided that moment that I should not wait any longer. Perhaps it may be later than I think, too. And then, because I was thinking of my baby, I thought of you and the tired lines in your face, and the moment of sympathy you gave me when I so needed it. I don’t know how old you are but I am quite sure you are old enough to be my father, and I know that those few minutes you spent with me meant little or nothing to you, but they meant a great deal to a woman who was desperately unhappy.
So I am so presumptuous as to think that in turn I can do something for you, too. Perhaps for you it is later than you think. Please forgive me, but when your work is over, on the day you get my letter, please sit down very quietly, all by yourself, and think about it.