Dear Paul B,
My Dad passed away recently, and I received a very angry letter from one of his friends right after the funeral. There were many people there, and all his closest friends were in attendance. This man who sent the letter, said I should have called him. He said they were very close friends, and he was hurt. I never met this man, but I do feel bad. I don’t know how to respond. Should I?
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There is really no one to blame for this unintentional act. When a person dies, it is NOT the immediate families responsibility, nor capability, to begin calling everyone in their recollection, who would be interested to know of a loved ones passing. Whether it was a sudden, or expected loss, people learn through the grape vine of a loved ones passing. I read the obits as a daily “chore,” so that I am not out of the loop. It is just a habit of mine, perhaps I am looking for my own listing, and thrilled to not find it!
Your response should be dignified, and brief. Tell this man that you appreciate his sympathy, and wish that he could have been notified, but that you did not know how to reach people in such short notice. I would bet that this “friend” had some interesting stories about your Dad. Check him out first (over the phone or via letter,) before you meet him, if that is your wish. You want to make certain that this man was indeed a friend of Dads, and not some crackpot or thief. Sorry, but you have to be careful these days. More than a few crooks and kooks out there, Kevin.
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