Author Topic: Offering condolences when you haven't been "officially" told yet.  (Read 3037 times)

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O'Dell

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Re: Offering condolences when you haven't been "officially" told yet.
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2012, 01:17:08 PM »
On Tuesday, Sue's mother died. I only know this because a mutual friend, Cathy, was going to go visit her and Sue texted her to say her mother had died. Cathy told me, but told me not to say anything because it was Sue's news to share, not Cathy's. I agreed and said nothing.

I find that reasoning bizarre. That might go for other personal news, but like others have pointed out, deaths are public. Death notices are published in many local papers. There is no reason to keep that stuff secret.

Definitely call her and offer your condolences. If you are interested in attending the viewing/visitation or funeral, start asking around.
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Mikayla

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Re: Offering condolences when you haven't been "officially" told yet.
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2012, 02:57:49 PM »
I'm glad you got in touch with her, raintree.

I also think you may want to have a chat with Cathy.  From the OP:  Cathy told me, but told me not to say anything because it was Sue's news to share, not Cathy's.  If it wasn't Cathy's news to share....why did she? 

It seems manipulative to me.  If she thinks it wasn't her news to share, then it's also not her news to contain.  Words don't match actions.

Raintree

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Re: Offering condolences when you haven't been "officially" told yet.
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2012, 09:40:26 PM »
Update: We went out for a run on the weekend, and then went out for dinner. It was what she really wanted to do. Months of caring for her sick father, not much time to do the things she wanted to do, and she was so happy to get out. Another friend joined us.

She is feeling relieved, and guilt at feeling relieved. I actually asked her about this because I've heard this so many times before. Although I haven't experienced this (yet), I'm told that just about everyone who cares for a sick or elderly person for any length of time seems to have these feelings.

kareng57

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Re: Offering condolences when you haven't been "officially" told yet.
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2012, 10:14:24 PM »
Thanks all. I thought Cathy was being ridiculous as I know Sue well enough to know that she wouldn't be offended by condolences! I understood not saying anything the first day, but several days later??

Anyway, there is an update. Sue has posted the news on Facebook now, and I've sent her a message offering condolences and asking if I can bring her some dinner. And I said if she's feeling too overwhelmed at the moment, just say so.

I just remember that when I was having a mini-crisis (not a death), if anyone had asked "is there anything I can do?" I would have said no, but one friend, without asking, dropped off a load of yummy and nutritious food. It was much appreciated as I didn't have the time or inclination to cook. So I hope I too can be helpful in some concrete way.


Agree with PPs - it's pretty perplexing as to why Cathy told you to keep the news "secret".  Generally, people expect news of a death to take place by word-of-mouth, rather than the next-of-kin informing everyone individually.

One thing you might feel like offering to help with - is paperwork.  If Sue is the executor/next-of-kin, she's probably overwhelmed (or soon will be) with all the paperwork that will need to be filed re insurance, benefits, or official state-oriented-stuff.  Naturally you won't want to have access to confidential medical info, but if you can at least help out with mundane stuff like address, Social Security number, date of death etc. it might be a real help.  I know that for me it was headache-inducing, and it went on for several weeks.