Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
One of my social friends (a woman I see at parties a dozen times a year) is
married to a guy who has tried to commit suicide twice in the last five months.
We were all shocked to hear of his first attempt but after his second we are genuinely worried that in addition to losing a husband she might end up being
depressed that she’s somehow responsible for preventing him from doing what
he seems dead-set (excuse the bad pun) on accomplishing. He’s a funny
talented guy and they seem happy so if you didn’t know yuo wouldn’t guess. I
was shocked when I got the email. Other than helping out as asked, what can I
do to support her, like recommending counselors for him and/or her.
Your concern and willingness to help are to be applauded. But your email has an
undertone of gossipy and prurient curiosity which will help no one, including you.
The reality is that you’re not close enough to him or them to be able to see into
the darkness that is enveloping him. You may have opinions about similar
situations in general, but without understanding the specifics of his mind and their
life, it will be hard for you to do more than they are able to ask for.
This is not the time to be helpful with suggestions that they might perceive as
invasive from a casual friend. Instead, do as they need and ask. Make soup or
casseroles that you can leave at their door. Walk the dog. Offer to mow their
lawn, do their grocery shopping, or other household chores. Volunteer to clean
house while they go for an outing (no snooping). Ask whoever their care team
leader is (and if they don’t have a close friend in that role they should) what
would be most useful when. Put their needs ahead of your own and everyone will