Expressing sympathy to a well liked acquaintance
August 22, 2007 7:07 PM   Subscribe

My excellent mechanic has obviously been going through some personal problems the last few days.

Today, as he handed my car keys back to me he told me that his wife had to be put in a mental ward. It was obviously not an opportune time to discuss this and I left with a "I'm sorry" and "I hope things work out."
I was thinking I'd like to get him a card or something, but something tells me he's not really a card kinda guy (not exactly a gruff guy, but still, he's a mechanic).

Anyone got any ideas?
posted by brevator to Human Relations (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Doesn't everyone like cards? I'd get him a simple card, just something to let him know you're thinking of him and hope things get better for him.
posted by cerebus19 at 7:21 PM on August 22, 2007

A card sounds like a good idea to me.
posted by tremolo1970 at 7:21 PM on August 22, 2007

You are awfully kind. As a caring gesture, I would suggest a few home-cooked meals. Something simple that he could reheat- like stew or a turkey dinner. You could package them in individual portions to make it even easier for him- that way he would stick some in the freezer.
posted by solongxenon at 7:21 PM on August 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

I agree with solongxenon, comfort food is definitely called for.
posted by misha at 7:24 PM on August 22, 2007

Seconding some home-cooked meals, and maybe some flowers for his wife?
posted by Quietgal at 7:24 PM on August 22, 2007

comfort food and a thank you card, delivered with a smile.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:05 PM on August 22, 2007

A hand written note of support.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:12 PM on August 22, 2007

I would just set aside a few hours one afternoon and stop by and talk to him for a while. It sounds like he's wanting to talk about it, and sometimes all you need is for someone to just listen.
posted by jivesoul at 8:29 PM on August 22, 2007

Seconding jivesoul if you're that kind of person, and home-cooked meal and note of support if not.
posted by davejay at 11:52 PM on August 22, 2007

I agree with everyone that food is a nice thing to pass along. If you can't cook comfort foods, meats, cheeses, breads and side dishes from the deli counter at the grocery store are handy for assembling quick and easy meals, especially if he has children.

Make sure you have a good joke or two ready for him. He probably needs a good laugh and you might want to have an ice-breaker so you don't feel so awkward dropping off any goodies for him.

Also, good on you for looking out for him.
posted by peeedro at 12:03 AM on August 23, 2007

If you aren't into cooking, stop by a grocery, pick up a roast chicken, some sides and a pie. Deliver right before closing time with a note of support tucked in there.
posted by jeanmari at 9:29 AM on August 23, 2007

Good for you for wanting to do something, and I would agree that a couple of dinners would be nice. In NAMI they say that mental illness is not a "casserole illness," meaning that unlike cancer or a heart attack or other physical ailments, people don't usually rush to help in concrete ways like you are suggesting. I love your idea of meals for him.

maybe some flowers for his wife
Having been in this situation, they may not allow her to have flowers. Anybody who brought flowers in certain wards couldn't bring them in any kind of glass or other breakable material, and even then certain places will only allow them to be on the counter at the nurses' station. This kind of thing really depends on the hospital, so you could call the unit and ask them.

Also, if he feels like talking, just be a good listener. Just let him say what he's feeling and what's going on, and don't try to give platitudes or try to fix it. Just listen - there are so few really good listeners.

He's lucky to have you in his life.
posted by la petite marie at 12:53 PM on August 23, 2007

Thanks to everyone for responding.
posted by brevator at 1:17 PM on August 23, 2007

nthing the food idea. it's been really useful for me with the current state of my life that people are bringing over things that a)keep well in the fridge b) are VERY easy to prepare or grab on the go c) are healthy since at lkeast my tendency is towards eating crap that's handy and or/ d) that are freezable in small portions. you sound really sweet. he'll feel happy to have someone just expressing care and concern
posted by Soulbee at 9:42 AM on August 25, 2007

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