Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Let neighbor bring up husband's suicide

Q: When our neighbor moved in just over a year ago, she introduced herself and mentioned that her husband, who was in his late 30s, had passed away a year earlier. We've socialized with her quite a bit since then. She's amazing: seemingly not dwelling in the past or in the depths of despair. She has a huge circle of friends, and she speaks freely about her late husband, sharing anecdotes and the like. Neither my husband nor I have asked about her husband's death.

I learned this week via her Facebook page that her husband took his own life. Others who are closer to her know. It's not a secret. We're just not part of her circle who knew her when it happened.

Our neighbor can assume we have seen the post, which makes it clear she embraces the concept of erasing the stigma of suicide.

What do we say? I don't want to shy away from acknowledging the post, but I don't want to say something pitiful.

In the Know

A: Don't say anything unless it comes up organically. That's not the same thing as shying away or promoting stigma; it's just recognizing that it's her loss, her business, and she gets to take the lead on whether and when she talks about it with you.

Parent needs a way to stop pushy advice

Q: Before I had kids, I had a general understanding of the concept that kids change everything. I'd get kind of annoyed if they said, "You don't have kids, so you don't understand," but in general, I got it. Now, we have a kid and I often find myself getting to the point of having to say it. Sometimes friends get stuck on an idea and just won't let it go at, "No, thanks." Is there a less obnoxious way to state our case than, "You don't understand"?

Left Unspoken

A: "I have my reasons, please stop pressing me on this." Leave the nuke in its silo.

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