Yesterday I read a very, very brief obituary of an old friend who died three months ago. There was no mention of his life, wife, where to send a contribution in memory, how he died or cause of death. Only two sisters were listed as survivors. Both of whom I know and who must have paid for the notice in the New York Times. He grew up in Manhattan, but had lived for many decades in the northwest. I contacted a good mutual friend of one of the sisters to find out what she knew. She said she had called and written to the sister months ago and still had not received a response. She assumes the sister is deeply saddened.
Somehow a commercial sympathy card seems too impersonal. That sister lives abroad so sending flowers would be prohibitive as well as too late. What would you recommend?
–E.C., Newport, RI
Had the sisters not wanted their brother’s death known, they would not have placed their brother’s obituary in the New York Times. Try sending a condolence message through the New York Times Obituary Guest Book. No doubt, the paper will forward messages from any signers of the guest book to at least one of the sisters.
Caution. Don’t be tempted to share the New York Times Obituary Guest Book or obituary on Facebook. Let the family control the news on all social media, especially because the cause of death has not been announced. It could possibly be suicide.
Nonetheless, there is no deeper heartfelt expression of sympathy than a handwritten note. To outlive a sibling is a tragic loss.
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Accepting A Compliment