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Should I send a sympathy note?


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With Facebook and other social media, we stay up to date on the lives of acquaintances and former friends far more easily than we ever would have otherwise.


A childhood friend (when we were 8-11 years old) recently and suddenly lost her 38-year-old brother. We drifted apart in middle school and went to different high schools so it's easily 20 years since we've spoken (I'm 34). I have the fondest memories of my elementary school years- it was just a happy innocent time- and I've always held a special place for those I knew then. I don't know why it is, and I'm not sure if those in that group ever felt the same way since it's been so long and we've drifted so far although many of us still have some sort of root in our hometown. I never knew her brother well but I certainly remember him well from growing up.


Would it be strange to write a note? I don't want to be coming out of the woodwork, but it did make me so sad to know that he passed. I guess I'm just unsure on etiquette in these kinds of situations and when to respect somebody's space.



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Yes, send a kind note. It's not strange at all, and could be a helpful thing for her to receive. It's something concrete after loosing someone from her physical life.


After I lost my father the silence from relatives and friends added to my sadness. They did not know him, I only have relatives on my mother's side, but they know me…. On the other hand, a few people from his distant past who I did not know sent very kind letters, sharing good memories of my Dad, and those were wonderful to receive. I still treasure them as a gift.


Share a memory if you can. It would be wonderful.

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Use how you became aware as the conduit. "I am sorry to hear about (read about, etc) Joe. I remember him fondly from our high school days, he was always so friendly to everyone. My condolences to you and your family".

I don't want to be coming out of the woodwork, but it did make me so sad to know that he passed.
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If you haven't talked in 20 years but are FB "friends", then a simple expression of condolences would be fine and appropriate. Just nothing over the top because that would become odd and seem like coming out of the woodwork.


What would be over the top? I ask, because I've never seen that kind of message for a condolence. Back when they were active friends that brother was in the picture, so it seems appropriate to their relationship to connect with something real. A simple condolence is fine, but compassion allows for more of a message about her brother.

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I have sent sympathy cards to classmates when their parents have died. I think if its a simple card signed by you and spouse (if there is one) and your maiden name included if you are female would be nice. And I say a card - not a freestyle note. And send it to the in care of the funeral home to forward to the classmate if you wouldn't know their current address in a natural way.

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When my Dad died, I received a lot of letters in the days after his funeral that really touched me. When all if the out of state/town family members went home and my other family went back to their normal routine I was left all alone with a huge hole in my heart. I'm sure your childhood friend would appreciate the sentiment!

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