Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
A few years ago I had a big fight with a friend with whom I’d been
close for a decade. The reasons don’t matter and we both decided to
let the friendship fade without any big confrontation or attempt to
reach closure about a black/white issue on which we disagreed and
each thought the other intractably wrong. We are polite when we see
one another but aren’t personal. I just heard that her father died last
week, after a long illness. I lost my father while we were friends, and
she was very helpful. Do I let it pass, call, send a note, or ??????
Caring (from a distance)
It’ll help heal the wounded friendship if you acknowledge her father&'s
death. The best way to do so is with a condolence card: the old-
fashioned, hand-written personal note that you send with a stamp. You
do not have to reference either the friendship or the fight, just her
Here’s some language, but make it your own: I just heard about your
father’s death. These are always hard passages that we all go through.
I appreciated how much you helped me when I was grieving. I know
you were a good daughter and this will be a tough process even
though you knew it was coming. Here’s what I learned, the hard way:
Dealing with the death of someone close is never linear. You&'ll have
good days and bad ones. Days when you think it&'s all going to be fine,
and others when you&'ll be teary and sad. And when you think you&'ve
adjusted, you can get slammed in the head out of nowhere. Listen for
your father in dreams, and remember all the good times you shared.
It&'s also good to keep some pictures of him around and writing or
telling stories about him. Here&'s a big hug.