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THE CHATTER BOX

 
  
  
  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
  
  
  
 
Messages 1 2 

need help writing a condolence letter... by canaveralgumby on 27 September 2006 7:58am
 
Sorry to ask you guys this, but I need help. I'm all weirded out. I have to write a letter, really a concise note would do, for a family who just lost someone to suicide.

Just to throw a wrench in, I'm not making any of this up, it was my son's biological mother. My husband's ex. We have to write this for her parents.

And we haven't had contact with her for probably over 15 years, and my son doesn't really even remember her, but the message has to be sensitive and NOT like it's from someone who's not related.

We've been typing a sentence or 2 on Notepad, and deleting, typing and deleting. We're at a loss. Maybe someone not so close to the situation could give us a better perspective?

Thanks, Cori
 
Re: need help writing a condolence letter... by perfectbitch on 27 September 2006 10:50am
 
Oh Cori, this is such a difficult one, especially as it is a suicide which seems to generate anger as well as intense sorrow. A long-time friend of mine took his life a few years ago and I remember being flooded with such anger which took months to fully subside. But her parents must be devastated. I'm sure that you know all this but a theme of - life just being far too harsh and cruel to sustain her (delicate maybe?) personality - may sound less of a cliche than being sorry for their loss.

Maybe find a piece of writing or verse to include? I wish you luck.

Linz
 
Re: need help writing a condolence letter... by Lounge Trekker on 27 September 2006 6:00pm
 
Cori, I've written a few lines. I hope they might help you. Maybe, as Linz suggests, add a few lines of verse.

<Dearest hearts,>

We offer our feelings of sympathy during this time of greivous loss. Her life, so fragile and so breif, has left an ongoing light...that of her son <name>. By bringing him life, she has made our lives brighter, forever.

Keep her close to your heart.

<add verse here>

Pete
 
Re: need help writing a condolence letter... by Helen on 27 September 2006 7:47pm
 
Cori, my god. (((Hugs)))

I second Pete's prose--and the verse is a wonderful idea too. Even just the prose is fine. Heartfelt, brief, and beautiful.

 
Re: need help writing a condolence letter... by canaveralgumby on 27 September 2006 9:59pm
 
Thank you SO MUCH, Pete. That's wonderful. We were stuck on the idea of a light going out too soon, but the light shining on in her children is so much better.

I was surprised when so little info came up in my handy dandy search engines. The following is a set of statistics published in Nat'l Geogr. Mag in Aug. This is an American's odds of dying from various causes:

heart disease 1 in 5
cancer 1 in 7
stroke 1 in 24
motor vehicle accident 1 in 84
SUICIDE 1 in 119
falling 1 in 218
firearm assault 1 in 314
pedestrain accident 1 in 626
drowning 1 in 1,008
motorcycle accident 1 in 1,020
fire or smoke 1 in 1,113
bicycling accident 1 in 4,919
air / space accident 1 in 5,051
accidental firearm discharge 1 in 5,134
accidental electrocution 1 in 9,968
alcohol poisoning 1 in 10,048
hot weather 1 in 13,729
hornet, wasp or bee sting 1 in 56,789
legal execution 1 in 62,468
lightning 1 in 79,746 MUCH BETTER ODDS THAN WINNING THE LOTTERY!
earthquake 1 in 117,127
flood 1 in 144,156
fireworks discharge 1 in 340,733

They left out animal attack.......


So suicide is the FIFTH most likely reason for an American's death. Putting emotion aside, think of it this way.

___________ Disease is a potentially fatal disease which can cause death in the form of ___________. Depression is a potentially fatal disease which brings about death in the form of suicide. It is not a really bad case of sadness or the blues or loneliness or lazyness. It's much different and deeper than that. It doesn't happen because of outside circumstances. It is not because you did something wrong as a parent. It is not because someone listened to Judas Priest. It is not because someone didn't get enough love, or didn't pray hard enough. It IS chemical imbalance and neurological
misfiring. It can be and should be treated.

Okay, well, I seem to have gone off on a tangent!

The survivors are thinking that they did something wrong, or didn't do enough. They may be thinking that the suicide did this to THEM, and how selfish was that? All wrong. I'm certain that's what Sky's grandparents are thinking, because they are old and old-school and thay don't know better. We have to keep that in mind, too, in what we say to them.

Thanks for letting me rant. It's my job, it's what I do. -- Cori
 
Re: need help writing a condolence letter... by Lounge Trekker on 28 September 2006 12:19am
 
I'm happy to have given you some ideas, Cori.

If you want to chat, I'm on MSN at maestroani@hotmail.remove.com

I'll rant right along with ya!

Pete
 
Re: need help writing a condolence letter... by tucsonmike on 28 September 2006 12:41am
 
Cori, I have to nominate Pete's as well. As Linz stated, this is a touchy situation since it was a suicide. I would have been at a loss and would have been referencing etiquette books on this one.

Mike
 
Re: need help writing a condolence letter... by fairygirl48 on 28 September 2006 2:09am
 
Cori, oh my goodness. Yikes! I'd go with Pete's too, it suits the situation perfectly. Good luck.

Heather
 
Re: need help writing a condolence letter... by Lounge Trekker on 28 September 2006 3:04am
 
see below...
 
Re: need help writing a condolence letter... by Lounge Trekker on 28 September 2006 3:10am
 
You may have gone off on a tangent, Cori, but thanks for the interesting info about the rates of causes of death.

On the subject of suicide...a young man in the nieghbourhood committed the act last year, and it changed me. I knew Kevin, not well, but we had gone trout fishing and mushroom picking in the few years I knew him. I had no idea that he was in trouble psychologically, and can't help thinking I may have improved his chances had I only talked more with him.

I value a young life so much more now. If a young person is talking...I listen.

Pete
 
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