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Advice needed on delicate situation with neighbours

(22 Posts)
MNadviceneeded Wed 15-Oct-08 18:45:59

Have namechanged, as could be very identifiable by what I am about to write...

We moved into our current neighbourhood a couple of years ago. One of the families on our street suffered a terrible tragedy a few years back - their daughter was murdered.

In the time we have been here, this family have not socialised with us, and other neighbours have said that it is because they don't want to be faced with questions such as "how many children do you have" (which tbh, I wouldn't do anyway).

The case is now in court, and I feel that it would be nice to pop a card through their door telling them we are thinking of them at this difficult time. DH, however, thinks that to do so would be intrusive.

What does the MN jury think?

ilove Wed 15-Oct-08 18:49:12

Yes I would. otherwise it always remains as this "unspoken conversation" that wlil become more awkward as time goes on.

snowleopard Wed 15-Oct-08 18:50:13

Somehow, I do think that would be intrusive but I can't put my finger on why. Perhaps if you gradually get to know them better, you can be supportive. But they have to deal with this in their own way and if they are choosing to withdraw, it seems wrong to get involved, IYSWIM.

You could say to the other neighbours who know them - "I do feel for them, we would like to be friendly if they would welcome it, do let them know that" and leave it.

I have no knowledge of the situation you are currently in, but my mum's neighbour's daughter was murdered when she was on holiday (years ago) and my mum didn't want to intrude and felt that their grief was probably too raw for acquaintances to become involved.

She bumped into the woman at the shops a few weeks later and said that she had wanted to come round when she had heard what had happened but didn't want to intrude.

The neighbour said that any gesture of support at that time would have been welcome and would not have been intrusive.

they had a hug and went their separate ways but my mum always regretted not going round straight away.

I think a card is the right way to go - you are not calling round to the house and they don't have to entertain you or try to be polite. It will probably be obvious from the shape of the envelope what is inside and if they don't want to open they don't have to.

They certainly won't be offended by your sending a card.

ImnotMamaGbutsheLovesMe Wed 15-Oct-08 18:52:10

It is hard.

They might feel a card from someone they barely know means nothing.

They might be grateful people care.

They might think you are after an angle to get in and find out all about it.

They might be grateful for the ice being broken.

Only you can really decide.

NewspiritsFromOldghosts Wed 15-Oct-08 18:53:41

I'd be interested to know how the other neighbours know that this is the reason they don;t socialise with people.

The reason i ask is because yrs ago, when dd's father went missing, i found out that my neighbours had told my newish neighbours that the reason i didn't accept their invitations for dinner etc was because i didn't want to answer questions about dd's father. I found out when the newish neighbours decided we Needed To Talk and turned up on the doorstep full of well meant sympathy.
I actually didn't socialise with them because i didn't really have anything in common and couldn't be arsed. grin

I know i'm rambling but unless they have specifically said this is the reason why, i would be friendly when i saw them and make it clear they are always welcome for a coffee but not actively pursue them if you see what i mean.

MNadviceneeded Wed 15-Oct-08 18:55:37

Oh, I hope they wouldn't think that I was sending it so i could get more information from them. Would never do that. And tbh, it is all over the press so I know more than I would ever want to.

it is difficult isn't it. I don't want to seem uncaring, and they must know that we know about it (there are TV cameras outside all this week).I might ask some of the other neighbours for advice.

MNadviceneeded Wed 15-Oct-08 18:57:45

Newspirits, it was another set of neighbours that told us this (in relation to them not coming to a social event we organised). I think that is the case, and isn't a made up reason. They had sent us a nice card saying they couldn't attend.

ImnotMamaGbutsheLovesMe Wed 15-Oct-08 18:59:40

I am not sure asking other neighbours is the way to go.

What do you want to do?

MNadviceneeded Wed 15-Oct-08 19:02:55

I was only going to ask the other neighbours as they know them well, so should know how they would respond to such gesture.

I want to send a card. But DH doesn't want me to.

SorenLorensen Wed 15-Oct-08 19:06:23

I don't think I would. I think it would be different if you had lived there at the time their dd was murdered - and if you had known their dd. I think you do run the risk of your good intentions being misconstrued - I would be as friendly as I could - obviously, with the press camped outside you are not going to see much of them atm but, when the case is over, you can smile and say hello (as I assume you already do). Like snowleopard, I feel a card would be intrusive somehow - but couldn't quite tell you why - just my gut feeling.

Poor people - I read about a similar case in the newspaper today and am guessing it might be the same one - so, so dreadful sad

MNadviceneeded Wed 15-Oct-08 19:13:31

Yes, it's probably the same case Soren, as it is front page news.

The thing is we don't know them to smile and say hello to, as our paths never cross (same with quite a lot of the neighbours, not just them - mostly cos we all work and are out or away at the weekends).

I think, given that, then maybe a card is too much. i will just say a prayer for them instead.

ShinyPinkShoes Wed 15-Oct-08 19:15:46

I think that you should send a card.

They will be very much aware of how many people are discussing the case. I think it will mean a lot to know that people are also thinking f them and their grief too.

Pennies Wed 15-Oct-08 19:22:13

My family have been front page news as well for very different but nonetheless not pleasant reasons and the cards and letters we received from friends and complete strangers really helped us through it.

I think I know the case too, was reading about it today. Poor girl. I grew up very close to where she lived and I always thought it was such a safe place.

Hassled Wed 15-Oct-08 19:23:24

I'm in the send a card camp. In the grand scheme of how horrendous their grief must be, a card certainly won't make things any worse, and there's a chance it will be recieved well.

harpomarx Wed 15-Oct-08 19:40:15

I agree about sending a card.

you are neighbours, they have previously sent you a card. They are going through a terrible time and I think a card is entirely appropriate. I think it will also make it easier for both of you to have an easier connection in the future.

ilove is right, this will remain an 'unspoken conversation' and it is easier for both parties to acknowledge it in this way I feel.

MNadviceneeded Wed 15-Oct-08 19:56:30

OK, I think I will send a card, as these latest posts are echoing my sentiments (not to say I haven;t taken on board the differing views - I did, as you can see by my wobble and decision earlier not to).

It just seems so heartless not to, especially as they know we know about it, and none of us in the street can escape knowing about it cos of the TV crews etc.

Maybe if it was less widely reported and publicised then I might act differently. But I hope that a card in these circumstances wont do any harm.

bruces Wed 15-Oct-08 20:05:06

I think you should do it,it's a very generous,kind and sensitive thing your considering.

differentWitch Wed 15-Oct-08 20:09:16

Ask if they need anything from the shops if they don't feel like leaving the house because of the media?

n5rje Thu 16-Oct-08 10:30:40

This may be too late, you may have already sent your card and I do think its definitely the right thing to do and will be appreciated but if I was them I wouldn't want to feel under any pressure to reply/become friendly with you in the furure so maybe you could word it so they know its a gesture of thought and support and taking things any further is for them to decide

I see from the papers that this happened five years ago so whilst the horror will never go away at least it maybe isn't still raw and I can't see that a card could offend.

Freckle Thu 16-Oct-08 11:00:47

I would most definitely send at least a card. I think losing a loved one unexpectedly, especially in horrific circumstances, can be a very isolating experience, because friends and acquaintances don't know what to do or say, so avoid the bereaved. I think to show that you are thinking of them will be a huge support and comfort to them.

MNadviceneeded Thu 16-Oct-08 14:51:25

Thanks all, I have sent the card now. it was definitely a "gesture of thought" type action. Just included a message saying that we are thinking of them.

DifferentWitch - that is a nice idea you suggested, and i would probably do that if we knew them better. However as we don't, it could seem rather intrusive to them.

Thanks all for your advice and guidance in this.

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