Social Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

How do you react when tragedy strikes a friend?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (30611points) March 18th, 2012

An old friend of mine lost both his young sons.

Senseless death. Unspeakable tragedy.

What does one say?

They live in Japan. All I can do is send a card saying “with deepest sympathy.” I am heartsick.

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9 Answers

Bellatrix's avatar

I am so sorry to hear about your friend’s loss @Hawaii_Jake. I would send the card and include a personal letter. Perhaps, if this is something you can do for him, in a few month invite him over for a break? People are often swamped with support when something like this happens and then their friends get tied up with their own lives and that’s when it can be hardest. So perhaps if you can, invite him (and his wife?) to stay in a few months.

When my dear friend lost her son, I also bought her a journal. Sometimes it is hard to talk about the maelstrom of emotions we are experiencing. I felt perhaps writing things down would help her. She said it did.

PurpleClouds's avatar

That is too much sorrow for anyone to endure. I was going to answer to just be with them but then realize you are not close enough to them. You are right, communicate your sympathy often. I have a friend who lost her husband a few months ago. She is thousands of miles from me. About once a week I will email or call and tell her that I’m thinking of her.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Do you both have computers? If so, you could both get Skype, and you could let him know that you’re available for some webchats, be it talking about his memories, or his grief, or talking about the latest episode of So You Think You Can Dance to get his mind off things. Give him lots of those sympathetic smiles.

rooeytoo's avatar

My brother lost 2 sons. He has never been the same. It is a helpless feeling to watch him suffer. Sometimes there just isn’t anything to do unless the person wants help or interaction. I would send the card and let him know you are thinking of him and perhaps in a month or so give him a call to see how he is. But the bottom line is, there isn’t a damned thing you or anyone else can do. Fact – life just isn’t fair.

marinelife's avatar

Keep in touch after the funeral. People tend to withdrew when contact is what is needed.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, all you can do is offer your heartfelt sympathies and let them know you are there for them if they need anything. I have a friend whose 40 something brother committed suicide 4 years ago and then 4 months later her father shot himself in his grief over the sons death. It was terrible, she has come a long way but the ghost of grief lingers.

janbb's avatar

Oh – that is just so sad. Send a card now with a handwritten note in it and check in with him – not all the time but regularly.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake…....So very, very sorry to hear of this loss.

If it were my friend (this is what I usually do when a friend loses someone)...I send flowers immediately, I then call to offer any assistance possible and then I also send a card with a note in it. I also (later on) might find a book that was inspirational…maybe one that showed the continuity of life and I would send that.

Once again….my deepest condolences.

linguaphile's avatar

The mother of my student who died in January lost two sons too. 3 months later—all I do is keep in touch with her every couple of weeks and say hi, how are things… the worst part is when everyone else has moved on and you’re still alone and grieving.

I would share condolences in any way possible, then follow up every now and then to say hello. There aren’t words that are good enough—not at all, only small actions. I’m sorry for you as well—hugs

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