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home : columns : dear harriette May 13, 2021

3/17/2021 7:46:00 AM
Friend wonders how to support grieving parent

DEAR HARRIETTE: A good friend of mine just lost her son on Valentine's Day to a random, senseless act of violence. I am completely devastated for her, and I can't even begin to imagine how she's feeling. I've watched her son grow up; he was kind of like a nephew to me.

I know that nothing I can say can heal or soothe her pain, but I need a bit of guidance. She's understandably quieter than usual, so I cannot necessarily tell what she needs from me. Sometimes I don't know if she wants distance or wants me to stay around and be there for her. My instinct is to stay close and never leave her completely alone. Do you know the best way to deal with someone who is experiencing this type of grief? Distance or close proximity? -- Helpless Friend

DEAR HELPLESS FRIEND: I'm so sorry to learn of your friend's loss. What she is going through is incredibly difficult, and there is no prescription for how she should handle her grief -- nor how you can support her. Your question is a great one because chances are, there are times when your friend needs distance and other times when she needs loved ones close by. Since you are not psychic, you cannot know for sure which moment you are in. Naturally, this is a difficult time for you, too.

I recommend that you stay close -- but from a distance. Text her regularly, but don't always ask how she's doing. Send her thoughtful things, like uplifting quotes, funny memes, links to programs you think she might enjoy, an audiobook that seems like it would make her smile, photos of the two of you enjoying yourselves together, etc. Keep in touch. Call her occasionally. Invite her to go with you for a walk or a drive. Ask her if she needs anything. She may say little, but I'm sure she will appreciate your attentiveness.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a strong suspicion that my co-worker stole money from me. I'm a waitress, and I left money in my apron one day when I took it off in the bathroom and left it in the stall. When I remembered, I rushed back to the bathroom, but of course it was too late. My apron was there, but the money was gone. There were only three of us working, and I saw the co-worker I suspect enter the bathroom at around the same time that I was exiting. It is possible that it wasn't her, but there's an even stronger possibility that it was her. I don't want to accuse her of something she didn't do, but I need to know. I have a growing animosity toward her because I suspect that she stole from me. What should I do? -- Missing Cash

DEAR MISSING CASH: I wish you had asked immediately if anyone had noticed cash in the bathroom. You could have said that you left your apron in there, and when you returned to get it, your tips were missing. You even could have asked this person directly if she took your money. Since time has passed, you are less likely to have anyone admit to the theft.

You have to let it go. You cannot prove who took your money. Harboring anger toward this woman is eating at you. That sentiment will not help you or your opinion about work. In the future, keep your money on your person at all times.

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