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I believe it is spelled 'faux pa'...(off topic)

Bruce MBruce M Member Posts: 166
If it were me, I would send his widow a letter. In the letter I would tell her how much I valued he husband's friendship and how sorry I was to hear of his death. Before you send the card, you need to reread it twice to make sure it is sincere and words like "dying" and "faux pas" are spelled correctly.


  • TimcoTimco Member Posts: 2,826

    A friend was dieing of prostate cancer this last summer. He tried the holistic thing, and herbal remedies and such...even treatments in Mexico and such BEFORE seeking real help. I get a call from his wife and she asks if I can help with their swamp cooler. I get there and my friend, who was a contractor and very fit, is weak, thin, gray and not looking good. Can barely speak but we visit. I look at the cooler, and it is totally rusted and shot. She asks me what the timeline is to fix it as the house is now pretty hot, and I say...can you guess..."none of my other customers will die if I don't get to their job." The second I said it, I felt sick, but there it was. Well, he died a week back and it has not left my mind. Do I apologize, or just act like I never said it? It is just a saying I use here & there (not any more) but I really feel bad for his widow. She acted a bit 'sheepish' when I said it, but seemed to shrug it off. Has anyone else said something as inappropriate?

    Another friend & his wife lost an unborn child last year. He is in the process of adding a room upstairs. His own bro says,"if there is a silver lining in this, you don't have to finish the room as soon now"...Holy ____!!!

    Working on steam and hot-water systems isn't rocket's actually much harder.
  • mikemike Member Posts: 675
    have i?

    many times. and sometimes, the best remedy is to let it go, because the apology may serve to only bring attention to it again, vs soothe the hurt. trust your, 'she shrugged it off' instinct
  • ScottScott Member Posts: 5,884

    I would'nt beat yourself up to badly. I think dealing with death is very uncomfortable for all us but when we are dealing with it directly as your friends wife did, its .. how to say this, more real and not so uncomfortabel to speak of ?

    We hesitate to speak of the dead but those who are left behind may say " Its O.K., he's gone and we know that ". Even now for me, I struggle with what words to say.

    I'm sure your frinds wife forgives and remembers that in her time of need, you were there.


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  • John BarbaJohn Barba Member Posts: 165
    Tim ...

    My guess is that the widow probably remembers - and appreciates -- you dropping everything and fixing the swamp cooler at a time when her husband was gravely ill, and probably doesn't recall at all what was said beforehand.

    Someone once told me years ago that a conscience is one of the key elements of character. You're obviously feeling sad that you may have said something that may have upset her, but dollars to donuts says she rmembers the larger act of kindness. Don't beat yourself up over it.
  • TimcoTimco Member Posts: 2,826

    Well, I haven't been beating myself up, but it sure feels worse than striking out with the bases loaded in Babe Ruth. It was a dumb thing to say but I have never had a family member (or friend) die yet. Parents are getting up there & such, but no death experience. This was as close as I have been. I really appreciate the words / advise.

    Working on steam and hot-water systems isn't rocket's actually much harder.
  • JimmyKJimmyK Member Posts: 14

    Just my point of view but perhaps if it's not to late to send a condolence card you may add a personal note regarding your statement. Something along the lines that you have been bothered since by a statement you made that meant no ill intent. Both parties may have a bit of piece that way.
  • Kevin O. PulverKevin O. Pulver Member Posts: 87
    I've been there Timco

    It's strange, I can remember one or two occasions similiar to you own when I've thoughtlessly (not maliciously) said something that came out SO WRONG. One of them is from almost 30 years ago. I still cringe when I think about it.
    I think a nice letter expressing your love and esteem etc... for her husband would be enough, but if you know her pretty well you might feel better just dropping in to visit her. Tell her as a friend of the family you wanted to make sure she and her equipment were still OK.
    And in the course of conversation say, "You know the last time I was here and saw "Bill", I said something so stupid and I've felt bad ever since." She'll indicate whether she remembers or not, and you can let it out.
    DON'T let uncomfortable feelings keep you away from her, and DON'T be afraid to tell her your fond memories and mention him by name.
    I read once that folks stay away because they "don't know what to say" but the bereaved don't remember what you say anyhow... they just remember you were there.
    It would be good for you to see her if this couple were friends of yours.

    P.S. Incidentally, I've had LOTS of friends and family die of cancer. I think ALL of them went the "real medicine" traditional route, NONE of them went alternative, which I think might very well have been better. Your friend thought so too. He weighed his options and bet his life on it, so no use impugning his wisdom by implying he made wrong decisions in this regard. Rest assured he was a very courageous individual to stand in the face of conventional wisdom and try a less culturally accepted alternative therapy. I'm quite sure he endured enormous peer pressure from medical doctors and others to do what he did.
  • Ruthe JubinvilleRuthe Jubinville Member Posts: 674
    my experience

    After Jerry's death 1 1/2 years ago what made it so much easier for me was all the people that came to Bill's to have a great time remembering and all the people who were not afraid to talk about him. These many words have kept him very much in my space and make me very happy that he is so well remembered. Ruthe
  • DanielDaniel Member Posts: 537

    According to my own experience when your conscience condemns you the best thing to do is take care of it. It's an organ and like any other organ of your body it's best not to ignore it nor write it off as okay. You feel bad for a reason and it may be the right thing to consider deeply whether or not she needs an apology. The best words spoken to a bruised heart are "I'm sorry . . ." and I emphasize the deeply consider part as it may not need to be spoken, BUT if it is then the better.
  • Maine DougMaine Doug Member Posts: 22
    I would

    call to ask when you could stop by to make sure everything was working correctly. Then when you stop by, don't be afraid to listen. The person who has lost a loved one often wants to talk and usually there is no one there to listen. Share memories. And don't ask her to call you if she needs anything. Take the initiative and call her now and then while she adjusts to a different life.
  • jackchipsjackchips Member Posts: 1,338
    Hi Tim

    I agree with the suggestions about a card but I would leave off any mention of the offending remarks.

    It the remark is even remembered, the thought of it will be greatly lessoned by a few sincere words.

    Good luck in whichever decision you make.

  • fattyfatty Member Posts: 54

    yea... the faux pas, the false step. but timco if you feel the regret you shouldn't worry on top of that. the regret you feel demonstrates that you are sensitive person.

    lately i've found myself whistling 'everybody plays the fool' and just thinking about how true that is. we all play the fool some time or another.
  • TimcoTimco Member Posts: 2,826

    Thank you all, ladies & gents. This really helps and I will need to prayerfully consider how to approach this, but I will deal with it. I do admire his decision to go the route he did w/ treatment, and should not feel like he may still be here if he had gone the traditional medicine route. Scott was a great guy. I guess I have been trying to avoid any death related stuff, but this is a good time to get kinda' used to it...His widow is a very kind, sweet person.

    Working on steam and hot-water systems isn't rocket's actually much harder.
  • DarrellDarrell Member Posts: 303

    I had a good business older man who was/is very respected and known...who took a personal interest in my business. Anytime I happened to be in his area and he knew it he'd buy me lunch and give me a tidbit or two of wisdom. He had prostate cancer...he fought for several years, but I could see that he was losing ground. It got to be awkward for me, and then one day he fixed it for me...he called me and said, "hey, I'm not going to win this thing, it will kill me this year. You owe me lunch!" He couldn't get out, so I bought lunch in for he and his wife, and we sat down and together planned how I would be taking care of his heating/plumbing equipment, so that his wife wouldn't have to know anything other than my phone number. That afternoon was the sweetest afternoon I have had in many years...the subject was out...there was no dodging it or trying to be polite about it. He did die this past thanksgiving...and he was ready.

    Send his widow a card expressing your appreciation for his memory, and offer your assistace at any time in the future should it be needed. The thing you said...let it go...your kindness handled it...probably better than anyting else you might say, (if you're like me!).

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