I am really sorry about your dad
June 19, 2011 1:58 PM   Subscribe

My friend's father committed suicide a few years ago. Should I call her today?

I should have thought of it earlier, and maybe sent a card, but I only just thought of it an hour ago. We live in different states, so I can't visit. We are pretty close, and I know she is still dealing with grief from her father's death. She posted a veiled reference to it on facebook, about how difficult Father's Day is. On the other hand, I don't want to call her and say "Hey, why don't you feel obligated to discuss your sadness with me?" What is the best way to let her know I am thinking of her, but not make her feel like she has to discuss this with me if she doesn't want to? Is it possible to make her feel better while not making her think about this if she is trying not to?
posted by jenlovesponies to Human Relations (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: Yes, I think it would be a wonderful thing to call her. You don't even have to mention her father's death. To call and say, "I've been thinking of you today, how are you?" would be very thoughtful and she would know why you're calling.
posted by jayder at 2:01 PM on June 19, 2011 [29 favorites]


How about, calling and having a nice conversation, but not mentioning Father's Day or her father at all? Maybe you can distract her from her troubles, or inject a wee bit of joy into a downer of a day, without reminding her of her pain?
posted by teatime at 2:01 PM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seconding both of these so hard. And don't be hurt if she just doesn't want to talk: it will be so good to know that someone cares even if she can't talk at all.
posted by jrochest at 2:04 PM on June 19, 2011


What jayder said. Good of you to think of it.
posted by Ellemeno at 2:04 PM on June 19, 2011


Best answer: I am of the "call, but don't make a deal out of it." My dad died this year. We weren't close, and it wasn't a surprise that he died, and I am mostly over it, but if someone called me and was all "let me share your pain," or even gave the feeling of it, I would be more annoyed than pleased.

However, if someone called and said "hey, thinking of you, how are you doing?" I would be pretty happy. Because that is nice.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:10 PM on June 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


Call because you're friends, without making it About Her Dad.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:12 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a woman without a dad, it warms my heart that you're considering this. Please call her. You don't need to mention that it's father's day, she hasn't forgotten.
posted by bilabial at 2:19 PM on June 19, 2011


I was going to write exactly what GenjiandProust said. My dad died in September and we were not close, but I would always, always appreciate a "thinking of you" call from a close friend.
posted by something something at 2:23 PM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah. Don't mention the day unless she does first, but a "hey, just wondering how you're doing" could be a good thing.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:37 PM on June 19, 2011


My dad died this year. We weren't close, and it wasn't a surprise that he died, and I am mostly over it, but if someone called me and was all "let me share your pain," or even gave the feeling of it, I would be more annoyed than pleased.

Oh man, me too, all of this. My morning was weirdly sliced by a few people who, on Twitter, said totally well-meant things about thinking of me on this difficult day and I was like "Huh, what's today .... FUUUUUUUUUU." I also had, somewhat randomly, a friend who came by to have lunch with me. I have no idea if she made the trip special because she knows about my father's recent death or just because she wanted to see me, and at some level it doesn't matter, but I'd think it was extra sweet if she just wanted to make sure I had a friend to hang out with.
posted by jessamyn at 2:55 PM on June 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Call her because she's your friend.
posted by mleigh at 3:02 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Call her, if she brings it up acknowledge that you were thinking it must be a hard day for her, but only if she brings it up. Kudos for being a good and thoughtful friend!
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:46 PM on June 19, 2011


My father also committed suicide and I vote for just calling her because she's your friend. Tell her "thinking of you" if you get her voicemail but otherwise don't bring it up if she doesn't.
posted by spork at 4:10 PM on June 19, 2011


My father died 6 years ago (suicide) and I would be pretty weirded out if someone called me on Father's Day out of the blue after not speaking for a while. Your friend may be different but do keep in mind that she may not want to talk at all today and do not push her about it! Do not bring up Father's Day unless she does.
posted by buteo at 4:45 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


"What is the best way to let her know I am thinking of her, but not make her feel like she has to discuss this with me if she doesn't want to?"

If you call her, don't bring up the fact that you're secretly calling to check up on her. Also, don't mention what you did for your dad for Father's Day.

"Is it possible to make her feel better while not making her think about this if she is trying not to?"

No. While it is nice to want to try to do this, you cannot alleviate the depth of the loss she feels. It's just not something anyone can do.
posted by kirstk at 5:41 PM on June 19, 2011


Another option would be to get a card and write a short note.
posted by gjc at 9:03 PM on June 19, 2011


Response by poster: I called her, and used the opening line, "I was thinking about you, how are you doing?" Then we proceeded to talk for an hour and a half and only briefly referenced her father- she said something about "all the stuff [she] had been through" but we mostly stuck to gossip, television, and funny stories. Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to call.
posted by jenlovesponies at 8:04 PM on June 20, 2011


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