How best to suppport a grieving friend
DEAR AMY: Two months ago, a couple I know experienced a terrible loss -- their young son was killed in an accident.
Although there was a time when I felt close with both of the parents (the father and I spent much of our childhoods together), over the years we had drifted apart naturally, and I only got to meet their son a few times. I want to do something for them, but because it has been about a decade since we spent any real time together, I worry that stopping by their house or pestering them with emails or calls will seem like a bother rather than a comfort. After attending the funeral, I sent an e-card to the father, letting him know he was still family to me. Is there anything appropriate and respectful I can do now to follow up on that?--Well-Intentioned
DEAR WELL-INTENTIONED: Call your friend and say, "Is it OK if I swing by tonight to say hello and check in? I promise I won't stay long if you don't want." Ask the couple out to dinner. Also, invite your male friend to take a walk, go bowling or simply drive around the old neighborhood.
Reaching out to check in is not "pestering" unless you insist that they behave in any particular way. They may want to talk about their situation -- but they may also want a break from it.
DEAR AMY: The letter from the friend of the woman who said "like" in every sentence reminded me of a wonderful act of kindness by a colleague decades ago. After I made a presentation, I received an audio tape from the head of the organization. It revealed that, in spite of my command of my subject, I sounded absolutely stupid because I was interjecting "um" every few words! It is a hard habit to break, but completely worth the effort. I've been forever grateful to the person who sent me the tape, and I told him so. He was too polite to acknowledge that had been his purpose!--Kathy B
DEAR KATHY: I "like" it!