F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

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Oh dear, friends, I have heard through the grapevine that the son of an acquaintance has committed suicide.  I am not certain that this information is correct so the first thing is I'm trying to do is find out for sure.

Some years ago, I counted the mom among my friends, but she stopped answering my calls a few years ago when she was wrestling with too many demons of her own.  As far as I know, she pretty much stopped talking to everyone outside her family.  Back then, I asked her husband if I should drop by the house, and he said no, that would be a problem in and of itself and assured me that this had nothing to do with me.  For a year or two, I called to leave a quick friendly message on their answering machine once in a while in case she wanted to give me a call.  No luck.  I did run into her a couple of times (twice, I think, in these years), and she seemed cordial but not interested in rekindling our conversations.

Fast forward to today, when I get the word that her 20-year-old (ish) son has committed suicide.  Other than sending a card, I have no idea what to do.  I would welcome any suggestions.  Thanks.  xx

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
I haven't had any direct experience of this (although I do know someone who lost their son in the past).  I would drop food on the doorstep, with a card enclosing some memories of their son.  I have a theory (might be wrong) that most people's need to avoid upset means the memory of the lost one is not celebrated, and although it might upset the person it is nice that other people also remember their son/daughter/etc.  After all, the person is going to be upset anyway inside whatever you say and it is nice to allow them to be upset.  

I'm sure others will have better advice though.
Currently no light; only tunnel 🙁

How sad!
I think any gesture of kindness or friendship would be welcome to anyone.
A personal note/email/text that you are there for her when and if she needs , is something I would want.
As long as she does not feel any obligation to respond , I think kind thoughts are just that kind and thoughtful. 

how tragic! No matter what, Torie, letting her know you care is nice. 😢


When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
that is a beautiful thing to do! To remember their child and the gifts they brought is so touching. 
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
Oh Tori. This is a complicated one. I don’t know if reaching out is going to be helpful for this woman. It seems like you’re no longer friends, which is such a shame. I guess it depends on when you last had contact, and how it was left. Speaking from a personal point of view I’d feel a bit strange if someone from my past randomly got in touch after a personal tragedy. I don’t mean this in a harsh or negative way. I just want to offer my honest opinion. You are a wonderful person in my opinion. You have offered me support and guidance that have helped me through some terrible times and for that I love you. I just don’t know if reaching out in this case is the best thing to do. 
Many thanks for your ideas, friends.

KLB, I see where you're coming from. but our two families are not quite as disconnected as my initial post made it seem.  We occasionally see the dad/husband in a professional kind of relationship (trying to protect their anonymity here); I'm not sure if the mom socializes with anyone these days.  So dropping a casserole off with the dad (at work) might be an option.  Hmmm, on second thought, I'm not sure about intruding on someone who might have been experiencing the one minute that day when they were thinking about something else.  Tricky.  Also, I wonder what might be good timing.  Maybe a week?  I think I will put a card in the mail tomorrow, for starters.

This is just unspeakably sad - she is one of those moms who would run into a burning building for her kids.  
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
People react in very different ways, when my mom's husband died (not my dad), she did not want to see anyone, just very close family (her children, her brother), when I had a miscarriage it was nice for me that people cared, when a friend of mine lost his brother, quite unexpectedly, she and her family, including her mom, celebrated his life, the ceremony felt almost like a party (he was very social and extroverted). Obviously this is a completely different escenario and I do not know your former friend at all, but I think that something that doesn't feel intrusive but communicates that you care, like a card saying among other things that you're there for her when/if she feels like it would be nice, and she can always ignore it if she wants to.
Big ciber hugs to you dear Torie
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018, she had a growth spurt a bit later, followed by tummy bug. She started restricting breakfast and school lunch in January 2019 (that we know). We succesfully refed at home.
I have found inner strenght, patience and compassion that I did not know I had.
Never retreat, never surrender
keep feeding
You know Torie, when the time is right, you will know what to do, I think. 😊
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
Please don't refer to it as "committing suicide" - taking one's own life isn't a crime and so it shouldn't be referred to like that
The more appropriate phrases are either that they took their life or ended their life

I think I’d still reach out. Do they have many/any close friends that you’re aware of? I wonder if the mom was, and is, fighting her own demons and had to shut everyone out due to that? Even though it’s been some time, she might not have any others? Or might have responded negatively a bit before because she was embarrassed having been in such a state? 

Maybe you leave a gift basket on their doorstep with a kind card? No contact right away, but a few gestures of kindness. I like the idea of sending food with her husband. 

Sometimes, only sometimes, people don’t know how to respond with tragedy and/or think  someone else is involved and helping. I try to always error on the side of compassion, a small act of service or love. From there she can decide, but at least they had a token of kindness during this hard, hard time. It’s going to be hard for quite some time. She needs support and love - if not now, eventually. 


Just my thoughts. So sad and hard. She’s lucky to have you. 

I would agree with something practical like sending dinner.

I get what you are saying...around Thanksgiving a friend of my d's from middle school died of a brain tumor. We had not seen her for 9 years, since she had moved and finished school elsewhere. But at one point they had been good friends and she was at our house a lot. I went back and forth whether I should reach out to her mom, but in the end I didn't. I do have some lovely photos of her daughter and I wondered whether to send them to her mom with a note but again, I didn't know if I should do that or not.

I like the idea of the gift basket with a card to let her know that you are thinking of her during this difficult time, and you are sorry you fell out of touch and would love to get together at some time in the future when she is up to it. Whatever feels comfortable.

We all know that when a family is dealing with mental illness, sometimes we isolate and hunker down in the difficult situation we find ourselves in because we may not want to burden anyone, or we may not feel comfortable talking about what is really happening. Or we may simply be too depressed to want to go out.


Hi @Torie,

You have described the lady in very kind words, maybe use some of those.

You are opening your heart to a kindred spirit, you are both mothers who have given so much love and dedication to their children. At least the husband can convey this message to her.

I am not sure in what way her son or her family have touched your lives, but every life is a treasure that shone on others. I agree that she would surely want her son to be remembered for what he was and not be defined by the tragedy. 

Follow your heart,  whatever you decide ❤.
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
Hi Torie,
this is so sad. I personally would try to reach out to her, but maybe give in a week or two time and do it through her husband. So you can reach out to both of them and maybe he is more interested in your company and help and this can get over to her that way.
Difficult, indeed.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Reaching out with kindness as you suggested is a good thing to do if you are happy with that and have no expectations. If they understand that there are no expectations then the ball is in their court so to speak. We all know how lonely it can feel when you are dealing with trauma and mental health....you have similar history there. 

So sad, I agree he did not ‘commit’ suicide but ended his life, language is important.
id certainly reach out,  it must be so awfully lonely and her child needs to be honoured.  Losing a child is the worst thing for a parent and in this manner complicated, I’d gently keep in touch for a long time to come,  once the initial practical stuff has been done and the initial shock has worn off they’ll need friends. 

we all know the intense loneliness of mental illness, and in this situation we as individuals are not important (I mean if we’re rebuffed or ignored for a while) I’d be there for if and when they’re ready. I’m sorry, it’s so awful. 


Gosh, Torie, how very sad for the whole family. I can understand how your heart feels bruised and you want to reach out to them. I think in a similar situation that I would send a card (perhaps with and old photo if you have one and the story that goes along with it) and leave it at that. I fear that she might be feeling emotionally overwhelmed. A grieving person can dip into cards as a when they feel the need for connection with their community without feeling a pressure to have a conversation if that might be too much (include your phone no and she can contact you if she needs to - sometimes it is very nice to talk to someone just outside the immediate circle as they don't get quite as upset and the focus is more on the person grieving). I guess much depends on what type of person she is and if she has a family (her parents, siblings etc as well as her nuclear family) who will be supporting her. One thing that I do think is nice is to send a card around the first anniversary. The grief is still so raw and yet it can sometimes feel that the whole world has moved on. I always feel it is nice to let a grieving family know that you are pausing on that day too to remember the person who died.

I hope that you are taking care of yourself and asking for hugs and TLC as needed. It is very unsettling to hear such news about people we know especially when we have been in the shadow of suicidality and suicidal ideation in the past. I hope you are ok.

Sending hugs,

2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, stable but no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly and cautiously gaining weight at home and seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Building up hour by hour at school after 18 months at home. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. [thumb] 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight
  • Swedish proverb: Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I need it most.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Recovery, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
  • If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal.
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
I don't think you can go wrong by sending a card, or perhaps even hand delivering it to the mailbox.  Speak from your heart. Tell her you count her among the people you have valued in your life and that you are grieving for her and her family. Tell her that you are not sure what she needs but that you are there for her in whatever way she needs, when she needs it ... now or later.  Give her your text number and tell her all she has to do is text "coffee" or "let's meet" and you'll know she needs a shoulder.  Tell her you can listen.  Tell her you can cook and drive and clean and not even speak to her if she just needs a hand with getting the house in order for family coming in, or if she just needs a long sleep and not wake to dirty dishes.  Tell her you get it on some level and that you hope she will let you DO something to help or BE somewhere to talk or listen as fits her needs.  Tell her a memory of her child you cherish.  

I am no expert for sure.  But in similar times I find that I regret not speaking from my heart and being open and available.  Two parents (two families) in my small office have had their children die by suicide (that is how it is phrased here of recent).  I will ask my friend next week what she recommends that she found helpful.  I know the beginning was a total blur.  She is very open about the loss of her son.  

I liked the idea of a photo of her child and a memory.  And then in a week or two, check in again, reiterating your openness to being her safe place to call day or night. If there was a third friend that is a natural to round out an old threesome, maybe you and that other person TELL her you are going to coffee on x day and you hope she will join and offer to pick up.

Mom of either pre-diagnosis or non-ed underweight 12 yoa (as of March 2018) kid here to learn how to achieve weight gain.  BMI steadily in the mid 12's for nearly her entire life.  Born 2006. UPDATE:  April 2018 diagnosed ARFID, based solely on weight being less than 75% of Ideal Body Weight.  Mildly picky, but mostly the problem is a volume/early satiety issue, along with abdominal discomfort and chronic constipation, all present since birth.  UPDATE:  July 2019 diagnosed with PANS. Dr. said likely started first PANS episode at less than 1 or 2 years of age.  On long-term daily prophylactic antibiotics. BMI now about 16 after period of intense refeeding prior to PANS dx,  followed by stagnation as we sort out what is next. FWIW ED-D is a fraternal twin and we have no other kids.
Hi Torie,
this happened with a friend of a friends son. We knew them to hang out with but we’re not close. However my friend could not attend the funeral as she was in another country, so I did in her stead.i was sad for them, but focused on some practical things too- getting them a cup of tea each,and something small to eat. Giving a hug to my friends sons.
and then I backed off- it was right in the middle of ds illness so I knew I could not do more.
if the funeral has been already, then by all means drop off a meal. We all need care during times of sorrow.i wouldn’t worry about the ins and outs of it too much. It’s a meal, they didn’t have to cook it, they will be happy you thought of them.
you aren’t being a ghoul at the feast- you aren’t sitting asking for details- you’re just doing something nice.
Oh Torie, how sad.  I'm so sorry.

In my own experience of grief in the past, the kindnesses that stand out have involved memories of the people I lost.  The cards which included photographs I didn't know existed;  the photocopy of a diary entry mentioning the people I lost;  the card describing a particular memory;  someone recalling particular music shared with them etc.  These treasures can be opened, read and re-read when the time is right.

You are such a wise old rabbit, I've no doubt you'll do the right thing.