Neighbors' Son, 15 -- What to Say?

chisue

Please keep me from saying something stupid or insipid in the face of this terrible loss.

My DH and I are Seniors. This young family has lived down the road from us for 10 years, but we seldom see them. We are not religious; they are Catholic. This boy is the eldest of four.

We saw police enroute to their home late last week, then heard from another neighbor that the boy died of asphyxia. According to the death notice he was a high achiever, a sunny and loving person who participated in something called Dreams For Kids -- aiding physically challenged youth. He seems to have been headed for such a bright future -- now never to unfold.

My heart is heavy for this family, but I haven't experienced the loss of a living child, and our only relationship is that of distant, cordial neighbors. I have made a contribution to the Kids charity as was requested in the death notice.

Sue

SaveComment6Like
Comments (6)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mrkwork1

Hi Chisue:

How awful and sad for your neighbors. I don't know if this was a suicide or an accidental death (e.g., due to playing the choking game or huffing) but sometimes the best thing to say is: "I don't know what to say other than I am so sorry for your loss." And then listen if they want to talk. Check in on them and let them vent if you can handle that. It's perfectly ok to cry with them as well as long as they don't end up being the one who has to comfort you.

Actions speak louder than words. Drop by with a meal, mow the lawn, take their kids to school. Help with housework. Do the dishes. In short, helping with the mundane life tasks until the family can get back on its feet can be very helpful after everyone has expressed their sympathies and then returned to their lives.

Understand that these are just general suggestions. I know of one person who felt helped the most by a neighbor who came over and polished the family's shoes for the funeral.

I did not lose a child but did lose a spouse to suicide, and I would have given anything had someone stepped up to the plate and helped me out in this way.

Regards,

Mary R-K

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sylviatexas1

My brother lost his eldest son in a car wreck, & he was so devastated that I don't think he remembered anything anybody said for some time afterward.

"I'm so sorry" is the best thing to say.

& rather than saying "let me know if I can do anything", just *do* something;
bring food or mow the grass or wash the dishes.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chisue

Mary -- Yes, this is rumored to have been 'the game'.

Sylvia -- Thanks for helping me realize I can't 'fix this' and can only express our sympathy.

These people have a HUGE extended family to surround and support them. The mother and father are both realtors in our town. They (and we) have landscaping services. They really *want* for nothing -- except of course their son!

I've donated to the charity as requested in the death notice (Dreams For Kids). I've sent a sympathy card with personal note. I think that's all I can do without being intrusive.

Thanks for the help and caring.

Sue

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
heydeborah

Hi Sue
I think you did everything just perfect. one thing that i do know from my experience is where did all of our "friends" go after a few months, maybe you could make up a "special" basket -- fruit etc. and drop it off just because.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chisue

heydeborah -- That's a good idea. I've been thinking that I need to try to 'be there' -- but just a bit AFTER the hoopla dies down.

It's pretty grim -- here we are at the startup of school and sports, then comes Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Gotta be hard, and there are three younger children who can't be deprived of their childhoods by this!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
heydeborah

one other thing people say "oh if you need anything" just let me know, and me being one who doesn't ask for ANY help from anyone, finally said to herself there is no way you can walk 8 miles you just have to ask for help (the city bus doesn't run where i needed to go) so i phoned atleast 6 of these "helpers" with 3 days notice, well the thing is they had the "best" excuses i've ever heard, but afew days later one of them asked me for a favour i hour in advance, and yes i helped them, so maybe offering to do something , you going to them and say i'm going grocery shopping on wed. if you have your list ready i'll pick up the stuff for you. i'm not too sure of driving the kids to school just because if you got in an accident.i agree those poor kids ours are growen up and we have national holidays not on their exact date and their birthdays and their brothers birthday, what heck will they gave to go through?

Save    
Browse Gardening and Landscaping Stories on Houzz See all Stories
Life Raise Backyard Chickens Without Ruffling Neighbors' Feathers
By Houzz
Before you build a coop in the backyard, follow these strategies to help keep your neighbors from squawking
Full Story
Community Simple Acts: The Unsung Power of a Good Neighbor
There are many ways to be a good neighbor, and they're often easier than you think
Full Story
Life How to Get Along With the Neighbors — and Live Happier at Home
Everyone wins when neighbors treat one another with kindness, consideration and respect
Full Story
For over 30 years we have been honored to be the first choice for backyard courts, greens, gymnasium flooring &... Read More
High quality workmanship combined with affordable prices is our motto. Our Company has been serving the greater... Read More