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Weird sociology question?
Old 03-08-2010, 04:25 PM   #1
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Weird sociology question?

This morning a person one street over died (was found dead in bed). I didn't know him. Should I do something and if so what? Food, offers of assistance, taking care of cat?

I know because I saw ambulance, fire truck, police car, visitors.
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Old 03-08-2010, 04:27 PM   #2
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Old 03-08-2010, 04:34 PM   #3
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This morning a person one street over died (was found dead in bed). I didn't know him. Should I do something and if so what? Food, offers of assistance, taking care of cat?

I know because I saw ambulance, fire truck, police car, visitors.
If he left a loved one at the house then I would be inclined bring something I'd baked and ask if there was anything I could do. Bought food could possibly seem like unwanted charity, but something you cook yourself definitely says "I care".

If he left no-one then I wouldn't do anything.
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Old 03-08-2010, 04:37 PM   #4
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You are a cat person, offer to take care of the cat.
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Old 03-08-2010, 04:54 PM   #5
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Someone you didn't know? I guess any offer of condolence can't really harm and may offer some comfort, so it is hard to find any reason not to do so.

But, I must admit the death of a total stranger without some kind of link might sadden me but not enough to call for any action on my part. Is it the proximity to where you live? Some memory jogged to life? The papers are filled with obituaries every week and I am just wondering why this unfortunate death of a complete stranger would stir this kind but uncommon response on your part. Or else it's just that you have a warm heart.

Go for it if you feel the desire to do so. Just curious about what in particular stirred you to action.
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:04 PM   #6
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Take them some homemade baked goods, and offer to look after the cat...but only if you are prepared to adopt it-stranger things have happened, i.e. " I always hated that cat, now that that crazy LBYM lady one block over has it, let's just let her keep it... damn, these cookies are good!"
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:21 PM   #7
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Allow me to field this one based on my own experience...I was so worn out from all the wake/funeral services and trying to cope with the loss, that the LAST thing I wanted was company, unless of course it was a very close friend.
That being said, a phone call (leave a message if no answer) or short note offering condolences and assistance (be specific in your offer) from a neighbor would be very much appreciated. Offering to drive or pick up/drop off simple grocery items can be a godsend.
The kindness of strangers can be one of those things that make all the difference at a very difficult time.
I think you have a wonderful heart to even consider "doing something". I am very impressed here, Khan.
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:09 PM   #8
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I think it is a very caring thing that you want to do...to be of assistance to your neighbors in a time of need. I think a note sent to the home with your phone number and offer of help if needed would be much appreciated.
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:29 PM   #9
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This morning a person one street over died (was found dead in bed). I didn't know him. Should I do something and if so what? Food, offers of assistance, taking care of cat?
I know because I saw ambulance, fire truck, police car, visitors.
"I saw the activity over here and wondered if you want any help. I don't know what you need but I could coordinate with our neighbors to help you take care of things at home."

Our neighbor two doors up collapsed last Thursday night. Her spouse thought she was showing stroke symptoms and called 911. A fire truck and an ambulance showed up and she left 20 minutes later.

Our "street mayor" neighbor went over to their house next day with that offer. The spouse explained that nothing had been found on an exam or a CAT scan and she was coming home that afternoon. The neighbor spread the word, casseroles & fresh fruit spontaneously appeared on their doorstep, and everyone caught up on hugs & sleep.

If nothing else it was a good way to get the word out without having to answer the same question 25 times.
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:37 PM   #10
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OK, I am the only one with a dissenting opinion here.

You didn't know the person, and he/she didn't know you. You don't know the relatives or anything. I think it is an intrusion of privacy to insert yourself into their lives in a time of grief. I would respect their privacy at least until after the funeral.
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:18 PM   #11
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OK, I am the only one with a dissenting opinion here.

You didn't know the person, and he/she didn't know you. You don't know the relatives or anything. I think it is an intrusion of privacy to insert yourself into their lives in a time of grief. I would respect their privacy at least until after the funeral.
I second that.
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:30 PM   #12
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If no one offers to take the cat, it could quickly be put to sleep, I've seen that happen to a dog. Seems to me that even when we knew the person, condolences may go to someone we don't know.
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:46 PM   #13
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Someone you didn't know? I guess any offer of condolence can't really harm and may offer some comfort, so it is hard to find any reason not to do so.

But, I must admit the death of a total stranger without some kind of link might sadden me but not enough to call for any action on my part. Is it the proximity to where you live? Some memory jogged to life? The papers are filled with obituaries every week and I am just wondering why this unfortunate death of a complete stranger would stir this kind but uncommon response on your part. Or else it's just that you have a warm heart.

Go for it if you feel the desire to do so. Just curious about what in particular stirred you to action.
It was a street over. I saw the fire truck & ambulance & police car & folks gathering. This is a blue collar neighborhood & the deceased was about my age. I walked over & gave condolences. I just feel maybe I should make some sort of gesture.

Crap I don't know how to react to stuff.

"And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. ..."
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:15 PM   #14
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"And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. ..."
That's the insight I wondered about. Sometimes it just catches you - there but for the grace, and all that. Happens to me all the time at work.

I disagree with W2R that tactfully offering to do something is an intrusion. But I also feel that absence of a tangible reaction for someone who is a total stranger is also completely appropriate.

Just my opinion. I've seen too many people die to believe there's a right way or a wrong way to react, within reason.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:25 PM   #15
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It seems to me that a kind gesture and a comforting word are rarely wasted.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:48 PM   #16
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Some families are very small and do not have a large extended family to help them through the death of a loved one--sometimes a kind word or gesture from a relative stranger who was a neighbor of the deceased can make a big difference.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:23 PM   #17
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If they lived in my neighborhood but I did not really know them I would take over a plant or some simple baked goods . No need to linger just drop it off say "Sorry for your troubles " and move on. It will be appreciated !
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Old 03-09-2010, 02:22 PM   #18
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I think you offering condolences is enough, as you didnt know them. That alone seems very kind of you to do and may have really offered some comfort
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Old 03-09-2010, 05:04 PM   #19
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If no one offers to take the cat, it could quickly be put to sleep, I've seen that happen to a dog. Seems to me that even when we knew the person, condolences may go to someone we don't know.
That is why I mentioned offering to take the cat.
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Old 03-09-2010, 06:08 PM   #20
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That is why I mentioned offering to take the cat.
And why I mentioned being prepared to keep it.
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