Out of the blue I received a letter addressed to my partner. It was a friend who clearly hasn’t heard the sad news yet. Reading the letter was heartbreaking as this lady had tragically lost her husband. She was clearly in a bad place.

This leaves a dilemma. Do I tell her or not?

I know the right thing is honesty and I should inform her. And yet…. does someone who is in such a bad place really need another piece of bad news. I told our son when he noticed that I was distracted. Interestingly he said that I shouldn’t make her even more sad. I had assumed his Aspergers Truth Filter would have made him say – just tell her straightaway. It rather puts a lie to the frequently heard argument from experts that people on the spectrum are cold and uncaring.

Even after a few hours I can’t make my mind up.

It doesn’t help that I remember when my partner found out about a friends death. She had met this wonderful lady from Channel Islands on a trip to China. They became good friends. I remember she came to stay with us for a few days. We hadn’t heard from her for a few months. Unfortunately a birthday card my partner has sent her was returned unopened and marked ‘person has died’. It had such a profound effect on my partner, I’m not sure she ever fully healed from it.

The circumstances are different but do I want to put someone through this now. I really don’t know. I just don’t know….. What I do know is that I can feel those icy fingers of sadness starting to circle my soul again.

75 thoughts on “A letter dilemma

  1. Such a difficult situation. We truly don’t get all the answers all the time, and it is painful, but we need to continue for those that are not with us anymore. I mean, I think we honor the ones we lose when we remember them and continue living as happy as we can.

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  2. To me the fact that you are even questioning whether or not to tell this woman (who is in a bad spot at the moment) that your partner has passed is a huge step. You are beginning to see outside your box. And of course your beautiful boy is sensitive to the situation and knows your struggles. He wants to spare both of you the pain. Again he is an amazing young man. I would love to meet him. 🙂 Were we not on different continents. Although still a Commonwealth Country. He He He

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very tough. It’s been a long time coming. You don’t need to decide immediately. Give it awhile and you will know what to do. Sounds like she will be hurt either way… if you tell her now or she finds out some other way after knowing you got the letter. What a conundrum. Like Laura said, maybe you should call her and tell her your partner can’t talk but can you help… you can listen. ??

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  4. i suck at giving advice, but I will do what I feel is right. Maybe the other person needs to also share their grief? something to consider. in the end, it should be what you and your son want to do as a family. be brave.

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  5. Would you want to know if you were the friend? I think I would want to know that my friend died…but timing of course is tricky as well. If the letter came with the traditional post, you have some time, I think before you decide if/when/how to tell. If it’s through technology (email) I think people have a different expectation.

    I’m sure you’ll do the thing that feels right to you. 💕

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  6. Simple – Golden Rule! and you have a close personal stake in this one so that should help with getting it ‘right’ (for all concerned).

    You do to the friend what you would want done to you in that situation.

    So, imagine it’s a few months after your own loss. You write to a mate because you want have some contact with someone you are old friends with and you know how easily it can be too late to say some things to someone – you just never know when, right?? Unbeknown to you he passed on leaving his wife and kids on their own. Would you want her to let you know, kindly, that he passed or would you prefer not getting any reply, well not immediately. Or at all?

    No need to tell you i’m sure but grief is never easy to deal with over those we love. Can you find someone who knows the lady to ask their opinion of how she might take the news?

    I sincerely hope i’m never put in a similar situation but fwiw… I’d sleep on it for a couple of days before doing what i felt was best.

    Honesty always beats dishonesty; Courage is always better than ignoring a difficult issue. Tougher, but better.

    Please don’t let it weigh too heavy on you, keep the focus on what is necessary for your (2 – 4 if you count the dog and cat!) well-being. That’s the prime focus here, always.

    I’m not promising today’s ‘funny’ is going to help any – in fact i’m darn sure it won’t, but i can’t produce pure gold every day! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I thought they grew from bulbs?? (the Crocuses, not the carrots!)

        I might have to write about my carrot ‘farming’ experiences on my blog – not that there is much to write about.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. A difficult choice, If it were me, I would respond and express my sorrow at her loss, and then ease into telling her that my partner had also died.
    However, I don’t know this lady or her husband, so it is a tough call.
    In two instances I have had letters returned to me to say the recipient had died. One came from my friend’s family (she was a work colleague), and the other was a solicitor dealing with the lady’s estate (she was one of my first regular customers at the bank who became a personal friend), so one personal and one impersonal.
    I know whatever you do it will be with good reason and from the heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s a very difficult choice in some ways, but if she hears nothing back she is going to wonder what is up, and maybe feel hurt – especially as she has broken the news of her husband’s death and would clearly expect a sympathetic response. I agree with the others who suggest phoning her. There is no way to avoid the shock, no way to avoid the sadness, but being able to speak may help; it may even help you both. Good luck!

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  9. That sounds incredibly upsetting and hard from you. In your feelings I would feel I had no choice but to tell her as what’s the alternative? She receives no reply to a heartfelt letter from a friend and has no idea why.. it maybe that you can be a comfort to each other in your shared grief you never know but either way I think even with bad news it’s better to know. I can only image the affect reading this had on you and I hope you find peace with it.

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  10. If this is the first communication from your partner’s friend is a long time, I doubt she is expecting an immediate response. Therefore you have more than a day or two to reflect.

    For practical reason’s it seems that you would be best telling the friend that you are replying in lieu of your partner because of the circumstances, otherwise she would find it odd, don’t you think? Then her imagination could be running riot. You needed give details of how long etc, which may leave her wondering why she hasn’t heard before but undoubtedly you personally are in position to have some notion of the words of condolence she may wish to read.

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  11. I can’t help but say: tell her. You can tell her about your partner in those past few months, how things have been since then. If anything, you, Friend, can be that someone who gets *exactly* what this friend is feeling. You know how important that sameness can be, because as you’ve said, grief is never what the books say. It’s what your heart says. And it sounds like this friend could use someone who knows the translation better than some “professional.”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I would say it’s better to tell her. You have a point about her being in a bad place now, but will she really want another blow just as she’s coming out of it?

    There is never a good time for news like this. So as a rule, I would think that the sooner it’s out there the sooner it can be dealt with.

    Liked by 1 person

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