Social Question

Da_Wolfman's avatar

How can I comfort a good friend? His son just hanged himself.

Asked by Da_Wolfman (233 points ) August 31st, 2009

His son’s body is being flown in and I have yet to speak with him, this is hard and unchartered water. What is best, wait a few days or visit immed. ?

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33 Answers

Jess's avatar

Dang that is hard, no experience here but my gut feeling says to just visit immediately, he probably needs “comfort” the most initially to deal with the shock…....

jbfletcherfan's avatar

If it were me, I’d get ahold of him as soon as feasible. He needs to know friends care about him. There’s nothing worse than feeling alone when there’s been a death.

Haffi112's avatar

Do what you would want your friend to do for you if your child hung itself.

Bagardbilla's avatar

Just be there!
There’s nothing one can say…
sometimes just being available to listen is comforting.
So sorry for your friends’ loss.

Darwin's avatar

I would go to him and offer to help him in a specific way that you think he would want, or simply to let him vent.

Da_Wolfman's avatar

My initial feeling is to wait for him to take this in and visit with im at funeral service…...once he is more accepting of what as happened, of course that could be some time.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Da_Wolfman Well, you know him better than we do. Just do what you think’s best for him.

YARNLADY's avatar

There is no comforting for a situation like this. Your friend is probably feeling a lot like a zombie right now, and not interacting with his surroundings. Just let him know that you are there for him.

MagsRags's avatar

Call him or go by his house. Ask him if he’d like some company and if there’s anything you can do that might be helpful. He might not know the answer to those questions, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need you. You can always do some laundry, field some phone calls, mow his lawn, listen if he wants to talk.

Jeruba's avatar

If you are a very close friend and you know that it would help him for you to just be there by his side, you should go to him, even if all you do is sit with him.

If he already has people around him who are very close to him, you could offer to help in whatever way is needed.

He is going to need his friends to stand by him for the long haul and not just in the first few days. You could be one of those who are there for him over the coming year and beyond.

JLeslie's avatar

What horrible news. Typically I advise people to be there to listen, not necessarily to talk. Just being there, being available, offering to help anyway you can. Will he have family with him? The boys mother?

Da_Wolfman's avatar

Yes, big family, many friends and a grieving mother as well. I’m told marital/financial issues had much to do with his suicide.He was a musician from Tx who thought to make it big in NY.

augustlan's avatar

I’m so sorry! How horrible he must be feeling. If the two of you are close, I’d say the earlier the better. If it’s a more casual friendship, you could wait a bit. Not too long, though! It will never get any easier to offer your sympathies, and the more time that passes the more inclined you’ll be to avoid the situation entirely.

babygalll's avatar

That’s is terrible! Comfort them and be there for them even if they say they are fine. Try not to leave them alone too much even when they tell you to leave.

Jeruba's avatar

A friend who recently went through this had a very hard time around the anniversary (which happened to be Thanksgiving—a double blow) as well as other special dates such as holidays and birthdays. It would be kind of you as a friend to anticipate those very difficult periods and offer extra support.

After she’d reached a certain point in her grieving, my friend realized that her grief had turned to anger. It took her many months to get there, but when she started to say “How dare she! I’m just furious with her for doing this,” she also realized that she was starting to get better. This did not diminish the loss, but it did allow her to begin to recover herself. She talked to me about this but also understood that a lot of people misjudged her for those thoughts. Perhaps when that time comes for your friend, you can also provide some understanding then.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Jeruba Anger is many times associates with suicide. It leaves you with the feeling of ‘what did I do wrong? Why didn’t I see the signs?’ It turns into a great big guilt trip for many. Then that causes a whole other set of feelings to work through.

Grisaille's avatar

Suicide fucking sucks.

Don’t do it, people.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Just be there for your friend. Do things as far as you are capable, like bringing food or making necessary calls without asking; things that will help your friend with the day-to-day aspects of living for the time being. And after the initial shock wears off, just be there to listen.

My condolences.

Buttonstc's avatar

Many times people are there initially but not for the long haul because they feel uncomfortable for literally not knowing what to say or how to act. Don’t be afraid to admit this to your friend. It’s ok to say something like “I really don’t know what to say or do to help you but I’m going to be here for you both now and later. Don’t be hesitant to ask me for what you need”

Later on down the road when the dust settles down research to see if there are any SOS (survivors of suicide) groups in the area. Call the contact number and find out when and where they meet and the first name of the leader or contact person. Write all this info down, give it to your friend and offer to go with him if it would make him feel more comfortable.

When my Mother committed suicide I found out who my real friends were. The rest just kind of gradually faded out of the picture.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I’ve been down this road many times, with peers losing children either to suicide or accidents. The best thing is to just say how sorry you are, give them a hug. If the son was a friend of your children and spent time at your house, round up any memento you have—photographs, artwork, etc., and give them to the parent. If you write a condolence letter, recount any memory you have of the child from the past. Most parents don’t want people to act as if their child never was.

25–30 years later, I still write notes to the parents of high school friends who died in their early 20’s and tell them I was thinking of their child, and miss them still.

skfinkel's avatar

Take food over to his house, and leave it there with a note that you are available to talk, just keep company, go over stuff of the child’s, or whatever.

What a terrible tragedy. So sorry.

irocktheworld's avatar

Ohhh my gosh!! Thats soo sad! :(
Well just be there for your friend and comfort him.Make him know that you care and that you’re there with him all along the way! Im so sad for this.I hope you and him will feel a lot better and no one should kill themselves.:[

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Reach out now, be genuine but let him go at his own pace. Check in on him if he wants some alone time first.

Judi's avatar

My first husband shot himself. I can tell you that the best thing you can do for your friend is be there. Be there now and be there in a month. Know that his life will never he the same. Especially for a parent, he will never get over it. Don’t try to sugar coat. Just be there. Sit with him while he cries. Cry with him if you feel so compelled. You can’t make him feel “better,” but you can make sure he does not have to go through this alone.

Grisaille's avatar

Just thinking of this makes my heart ache. Ugh

His boy…

Grisaille's avatar

And I’m sorry to hear that, Judi. Wish I had something else to say, but I needed to say something.

To anyone who’s every lost someone. We’ve all been there.

Judi's avatar

@Grisaille, it was 20 years ago. Harder for my kids than me, although hard. Hardest for his mother.

Grisaille's avatar

I can imagine.

Da_Wolfman's avatar

Update: My friend is not answering his phone, guess I’ll make the drive. I left a very supportive message on his voice mail.

Grisaille's avatar

Good decision. Keep at it.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Da_Wolfman Yes, don’t stop trying. He needs you whether he knows it or not.

Da_Wolfman's avatar

Update:: Spoke on the tel. with my good friend (Charlie). The family is pretty much shocked and devastated…we will have lunch on Friday.

Thanks for th input, I apprecaite it very much.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

That’s good. By Friday, he should be ready to talk.

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