Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I need opinions...seriously. This is long and involved but I need help.**update

I have a dilemma and sincerely would appreciate input from any of you reading this.

I need to decide if my attending a funeral would help or hurt.

Here is the back story. A few years ago one of my employees became more than an employee, she became a friend. She was going through a messy divorce from her (executive) alcoholic husband. She spent many hours telling me about their situation and told me time and time again how much she appreciated my friendship and allowing her to vent. This mess went on for a couple of years.

After her husband moved out of their beautiful new home, she was just starting to settle in, as a soon to be single parent to her kids. The youngest was 2. One day, the ex called her at work (she is a Nur.se Prac.titioner with her own patient base) and he threatened to kill himself. She called his parents and they arrived at the home, to find that he had in fact hung himself in the garage. (he had been told that day by his superior, that he needed to get his shit together, get treatment or his job would be eliminated....he was an executive for a local company)

At the time BigD was working a shift at our local hospital. When he arrived and saw this mans name as a DOA, he called me, knowing that I would want to help my friend. It was time for the kids to arrive home from school, and the house was being treated as a crime scene and BigD was very worried that the kids would come home to that.

I immediately called my friend, and asked if she wanted me to come over and snag up the kids or anything. After a minute, she asked "how did you hear?". I told her BigD was at the hospital and he had called concerned for the children. Her mother was on the way to intercept the kids so my help wasn't needed at that time.

Because BigD heard about the death while he was working at the hospital, and because he called me (even though it was not gossip, but sincere concern for the kids), the deceased man's parents went ballistic, and my friend wasn't too thrilled either. They were fearful that word would get out that their son/husband had committed suicide. (keep in mind, this is a fairly small community and you can't fart without your neighbor knowing). Anyhow, one thing led to another and the victims parents, and my friend, demanded that the hospital fire BigD as he had violated H.IPAA by calling me with the "news". BigD tried to explain that once a suicide call goes out over the p.olice radio, it is public knowledge, hence H.IPAA wasn't violated, but the hospital feared a lawsuit so they told BigD they were very sorry but that he was out. Since it was just an "off-d.uty" job, it really wasn't a huge deal to us, but it made us sad that he was let go, for trying to do the right thing at the time. This all transpired about 3 years ago. The friend had to quit working part-time for me and concentrate on building her own client base, as the s.uicide left her without any life/health insurance etc.

This morning, BigD called me to tell me that my friends 16 year old daughter and 13 year old son were in a horrific car accident going to school. The daughter was killed and the son, most likely, will not survive.

I am absolutely sick for this mom. I simply cannot imagine the devastating news she got this morning. I can't think about anything else.

The thing I need help with is deciding if it would be appropriate for me to attend calling hours or the funeral. She and I never argued, but it was made pretty clear that she was upset that I knew about her husbands death before it became public knowledge. Now, she has lost her daughter. I certainly don't want to upset her more, if my being there will remind her of her ex's situation. But I also feel that she is going to need to see that people care.

Please let me know your honest opinion. Feel free to pose this to your own friends and see if they have an opinion. I am really stuck on this one.

**I just got a call that the 13 year old boy died this morning at 8:57. His mother signed organ donation papers. So many people will have their lives begin again today, as this boys life ends. I cannot imagine the devastating grief of this mom.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, OHN . . . that is a tough one. If I'm reading this right you never really had a falling out per se but your friendship just fizzled after that incident? Was it more the ex's parents that were mad, not her? I really don't know what I would do. I think she'll need all the support she can get right now. On the other hand I too would be nervous about stirring up any old pain at a tim elike this. Stumped. Do you have any mutual friends that know you both and have stayed close with her? (beagle)

Comedy Writer Jerry Perisho said...

Stay on the high road. Don't let some old and convoluted emotional interactions interfere with you making the classy decision.

When something horrifying like this occurs, all previous bets are off. Go to the funeral and be supportive.

Jerry

OHN said...

Right Beagle. We never had words. I knew she was upset only because that is what the administration told BigD. She had decided way before that time that she had to give up working for me, to beef up her practice full time. I left the door open for her to call any time she wanted some extra cash, she was welcome to call and see if I had some extra work for her. That was really the last time we talked.

Anonymous said...

I think I'd go and show quiet respect and let her initiate any converstion etc. That way she knows you care but can avoid you, so to speak, if she still feels ackward about the old stuff. I'd guess this tradgedy trumps anything she's endured so far and your support will be appreciated whether acknowledged or not. (I'd avoid the grandparents though).

The whole thing is so awful! (beagle)

awomanmyage said...

In the case of her husband's death, it was unfortunate that they took out their anger and shame on your husband. I think you should go to the funeral, write you a lovely letter and let her know you are there for her. Don't expect anything from her - tragedy and death changes people. Let's face it, if you experienced what she did, the last thing on your mind would be making nice with someone even though you acted badly.

I wish there were more people like you on this earth, seriously.

preppyplayer said...

I think you should go. It reconfirms that you were concerned then and that you are concerned now. And I agree, I would show my support and then leave as she may associate you with her tragic history.
On the other hand, she may appreciate the unconditional support and loyalty.
You are a good girl :)

Ina in Alaska said...

Definitely go to the funeral. Your friendship seems like it is over but this poor lady has been through so much tragedy, the last thing on her mind is not how you two ended up the last time.

It is very unfortunate that Big D was let go years ago, his heart was in the right place, but lesson learned there.

Tina said...

Have you been in contact with her? If you guys haven't spoken since that time, honestly I wouldn't go. I would send her a card saying that you were thinking about her and that you are there if she needs you. You don't want to make a bad situation worse by anticipating one reaction and having a very different one happen. Just my opinion.

Unknown Mami said...

GO! This poor woman's world is falling apart. I'm sure she's not even thinking straight and could use any support offered to her. GO. GO. GO. I don't even know her and I want to go.

Frau said...

I say go!

Yo-yo Mama said...

To lose both children...oh my stomach just lurched. I don't know, OHN. I understand every one else's thoughts about going, but I also have to wonder if she might see you or BigD and wonder if some other EMT or EMS told you. Yes, I know that it's most likely public knowledge about the accident, but her thoughts will go there. I just know.

Instead I am with Tina on this and I would send her a card, maybe a donation in the children's names and see what happens from there.

On the other hand, I'm sure the outpouring of support from the community will be so expansive that she probably won't even realize you are there. Even if you went up to her and talked to her, the shock and grief will be so much she may not even remember you being there. Do what your heart tells you to do. It will be the right thing no matter what.

The Hopkins Fam said...

I say go. I wouldn't initiate any interaction with her, but for her just to see people there will be good for her. So sad! I can't even imagine...

hope548 said...

What a horrible tragedy.

My first instinct is that you should go and show your support. It's not your fault that she misinterpreted what happened the first time. If you want to go to show that you care, then go.

grumpy said...

Mmmm, I would say go - in a low key manner and send a card.

:( so sad

awomanmyage said...

Ohmigod, what horrible news! My heart breaks for her. Do what you know is the right thing to do.

worldofwinks said...

I'm guessing her reaction was one said through grief. I know thinks I've said when I was seriously upset, and that doesn't even scratch the surface of what she was going through. She was probably under pressure all the way around, and the mounting loads of "what do I tell my children" and everything else that came with the loss. Afterwards, she was probably wondering how to recover from that. How could she approach you after all that had happened?

I would go. Even if you end up the target of her anger, you have helped her in some way. I know how it feels to have a child with a terminal illness...anger doesn't begin to cover it. Some days I want to scream, but at who? Even if she takes it out on you, know that you helped. Be a rock for her. It's the moral high ground and hard to do, but you are one of the highest grade women I've ever heard of!

Baylee and Blair's page said...

Geez... that's horrible! IDK what I would do! I think I would attend the funeral not to upset her, but show support.

Hugs - Tiffany

Brandy said...

I know I'm really behind but I just felt like I had to comment anyway. I am so sorry to hear of your friend's tragic loss. If I were in that situation I would probably not go to the funeral home but rather send a small arrangement directly to her home with a card expressing my condolences. I would make it clear that I was available if she ever needed anything, especially just to talk, and leave the ball in her court. But as always that's just me.

edenland said...

Oh my God. I only just read this post now .... oh I don't know that poor woman but my heart just breaks for her. I hope she can continue to go on.

Are you ok sweetheart? I actually came here to post an email I just sent you that got bounced back. It's silly, but should make you smile. Love to you XOXOX

_____

Dear OHN,

I fricken adore you straight back atcha, my Half Nutty Vagina Overlord Mentor.

Just as Tim is maturing, Max is starting to act like a moody pre-teen.
And Rocco just scares the fuck out of us all.

Help.

xoxoxoxox

portraitsinsepia said...

OHN,
What did you decide to do?

Lorna said...

I would definitely go. People's hearts can change in an instant once tragedies hit and they get clarity on what is truly important. Grudges fly out the window, hearts open, and we all realize all we have is each other.