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troubleinharlem's avatar

How can I show a grieving family that I care?

Asked by troubleinharlem (7966 points ) November 19th, 2009 from IM

So, a close family friend’s daughter was murdered yesterday in Micronesia. How can I show the family that I care without being hurtful? I don’t want to bring up bad feelings, but I do want to show sympathy. Should I do/not do something? Is it too soon?

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13 Answers

virtualist's avatar

C A R E , up front and personal ; contact them; assist them; ( do this in context of their culture). It is courageous and wonderful to go outside of yourself to do this; you expand your S E L F.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Help do any legwork they require in getting their daughter home. They’re probably in shock and someone with a clear(er) head will have to help with paperwork or talking to the American embassy or Micronesian officials with those details.

madsmom1030's avatar

Several years ago my first husband killed himself and it was pretty hard for me and his family. i will share what different people did- many made food so we didn’t have to cook because noone felt like cooking. people sent alot of cards and many included contributions to a college fund for our young daughter. One person bought us a butterfly bush, everblooming rose bush and one end of my home was a memory garden to him. my mother bought a beautiful little bench for my daughter so that she could go sit in the garden when she wanted to talk to her dad. no one really offended me by their actions- they were all so very kind and helpful. Alot of people asked what they could do to help. Many people helped me with a variety of things- watched my daughter, boxed up his belongings, and mentally it was draining and hard to plan his visitation and funeral and I had alot of help there and just had to choose basic things. you don’t really want to make big decisions and I appreciated the help everyone gave. people started helping that afternoon on the day he died. I was in shock and totally overwhelmed.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@madsmom1030 ; did you not want people telling you that they were sorry? Personally, I’d think that I’d want to block it all out and people would bring back memories.

Darwin's avatar

As @madsmom1030 says, do something for them that you know will be helpful. At the very least go to them and say how saddened you are for them. Offer a shoulder to cry on, take them a casserole that can be frozen for later, help them find out how to bring her home, start a collection for plane tickets so they can go get her, or any of a number of other things. If you want, you could also send a card they can read later about how much their daughter meant to you, or telling a story of something wonderful she did.

If nothing else, just ask them what you can do to help them through these next few months.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@Darwin ; the mum teaches kindergarten. Do you think that it’s okay for me to help in that area?

Darwin's avatar

Certainly, especially if you are a certified teacher or can serve as a sub. If you really want to know, go ask your friend what you can do to help.

virtualist's avatar

@troubleinharlem personally, I do not think so

faye's avatar

@troubleinharlem she will be taking time off surely. If you are unsure send some flowers.

Kayak8's avatar

There is a really neat website at www.carecalendar.org

If the family needs help with meals etc, you can coordinate all of it through the website and no one has to “bother” the family with questions, etc. You can post funeral details etc. and everything is in one place. This site is also great if someone is in the hospital and you don’t want to bother the family for details of what is going on. One statement gets posted and all friends can read the same information.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@Darwin ; xD I’m only 18. But I can be an aid, I think.

@virtualist ; do not think… what?

@Kayak8 ; ooh, good idea.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Most people who have a loss want you to acknowledge it (in my personal experience and yes I have too much of it unfortunately). You won’t be hurting them more than they are hurting already.

The simplest thing you can do is send a card saying you love them and you just don’t know what to say. It is much better to say you don’t know what to say than to use cliches.

Another thing you could do is send a care package. There are lots of ideas for care packages surrounding grief if you want any suggestions.

Another idea would be to put their daughters name on some jewelry or a handmade quilt or something like that and send it to them.

Another idea is to think of a memory you have of the daughter and put that in a card. It is very important that you continue to acknowledge her.

Another idea is to send money if you have any extra. With loss comes a huge financial burden.

This is all being said without great understanding of the Micronesian culture as they may have specific cultural beliefs that guide them in their grief process.

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