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#167855 - 02/25/09 03:33 AM To keep or not to keep this to myself?
SARbound Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 503
Loc: Quebec City, Canada
A friend of mine died in a car accident about a year ago. Shortly before his accident, he announced to me that he was a father of a little boy that was a few years old. I don't exactly remember how it happened, but he just opened up to me one evening. He was a relatively new friend to me (a few years) but we were getting along just fine, so I guess he was feeling comfortable that night and felt like talking about it with a buddy.

Anyways, he told me that one day, he ran into the child's mother in a shopping mall and saw his son, and they had talked a bit. Naturally, they weren't together anymore (I didn't know she even existed).

Although I have a hard time remembering more details from our conversation that night, I remember that I had this feeling that he and the child's mother had clear intentions to eventually take the next big step : organizing a formal meeting, introducing himself to his son more officially, and so on.

Now, I think I might be the only person that knows about this. I am assuming the mother knows that he is deceased, but I have no idea where she is and what she looks like whatsoever. At the funeral, his parents were there, his brother, I kept looking at them telling myself... should I tell them about this... should they know more? (not that day obviously, but some other time).

These thoughts have been hauting me more and more and I really need some people's opinions to help me see more clearly.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I understand this is not your typical survival-related post but I am assuming that since we're "around the campfire", it should be OK.
_________________________
-----
"The only easy day was yesterday."

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#167856 - 02/25/09 04:01 AM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: SARbound]
Sherpadog
Unregistered


Let the mother of the boy handle their own family affairs. There is absolutely nothing for you to gain and everything for you to lose by intruding on private family matters....especially when you yourself are not privy to nor have the ability to recall all of the details.


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#167858 - 02/25/09 04:05 AM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: SARbound]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1918
Loc: Washington, DC
The child's mother probably would want him to know his grandparents and other family. And maybe they already do.

If I didn't have even an acquaintance with his family, think I'd leave it alone. Seems to me it's just not your place.

But that's easy to say since I'm not in your shoes.


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#167859 - 02/25/09 04:05 AM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: ]
ohiohiker Offline
found in the wilderness
Journeyman

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 76
Loc: Ohio
Most information requires no action. Life is easier and simpler that way.
_________________________
Bushcraft Science: It's not about surviving in the wilderness, it's about thriving in the wilderness.

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#167860 - 02/25/09 04:09 AM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: ]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2322
Loc: Colorado
If the childs mother wants to introduce him to your late friends family then she should be the one to do it. All's you have is "this feeling", but no details. Keep your mouth shut. Tightly.

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#167861 - 02/25/09 04:16 AM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: SARbound]
Desperado Offline
Veteran

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas
Ouch, this is not an easy one to handle....

Uh, it is almost like being caught in a minefield. Any way you go and it is a 50/50 chance it blows up in your face.

Let me think on this one a while, but I think maybe you might want to forget you even know anything about this.

My DW's father was WAY abusive when she was a child/teen. (yeah it's what ya think.)

He recently had a private investigator track us down and tried to make contact here at our residence and on our property. Texas is funny about the whole Castle Doctrine thing. He won't be coming back to visit.

I really worried over telling DW, but finally did. Her only question was why I didn't let the German Shepherds have him and/or why I didn't go ahead and pull the trigger when I had the chance.

At the same time, the reaction "pendulum" could have swung just as far in the other direction.

I really don't know what I would do... Just be damn careful.

Good Luck (and I really mean that!)
_________________________
I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.

RIP OBG

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#167864 - 02/25/09 04:41 AM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: Desperado]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
There is a role for none related people to help raise children. this is the traditional role of the Godfather. Not to be confused with the jowly guy who makes you an offer you can't refuse.

A bit of a movie cliche but close service members sometimes form informal pacts to take care of each others children if something happens and one doesn't come back. this can be anything between a quasi-legal commitments and simply showing up and asking the widow if there is anything they can do.

From your description I don't see any such expectation from your friend.

At most I would think you might show up on her doorstep, express condolences, and explain that you were his friend and simply ask if there is anything you can do to help her. Done in a subtle and sensitive manner, being careful to avoiding offending her, you might help but you should be careful to keep a retreat path open and an eye toward backing off quickly if it goes bad.

Handle it wrong and your looking at a lot of verbal abuse, the possibility of ballistic room fittings coming at your head, and a restraining order. And a story to spill beer over.

Simpler and safer to keep your distance but little good ever came from playing it safe.

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#167868 - 02/25/09 10:56 AM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: SARbound]
EMPnotImplyNuclear Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 382
The advice so far has been pretty good, but here is a different take on it, anonymous tip. You get the best of both words, but be careful to really be anonymous smile
You have 4 choices:
1) telephone - if you can afford a disposable cell, or you know of a payphone that still works ...
2) email - be sure to create a one-time use account for this purpose, use a public computer ...
3) note - don't handwrite the note, don't use your own printer/typewriter, wear gloves, don't lick the envelope...
4) psychic - hire a psychic to beam a message, make sure to hide your face, on second thought, the psychic could identify you no matter what you do, too risky smile

whatever you do, don't include your name, or your address, or your license plate, or social security number...

laugh crazy wink

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#167870 - 02/25/09 11:36 AM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: EMPnotImplyNuclear]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
Hoenstly, it doesnt affect you, leave it alone. She doesnt know you, you dont know her. Let her live her life; he told you this in confidence; maybe you're the ONLY person he told. IF she were going to introduce the child to his family, she will do so. It is, quite honestly, none of your concern.
If it were a relative of yours, or, as was said, and army buddy, that would be different; he was a friend and, although your intentions are good, they are misplaced.
_________________________
my adventures

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#167871 - 02/25/09 12:30 PM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: oldsoldier]
Mike_H Offline
Addict

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 612
Loc: SE PA
If you friend never told his family about the fact he had a son, then it certainly isn't in your place to do so.

At this point, it really rests on the mother to determine how she would want to proceed.
_________________________
"I reject your reality and substitute my own..." - Adam Savage / Mythbusters

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#167876 - 02/25/09 01:17 PM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: oldsoldier]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5357
Loc: SOCAL
I agree with oldsoldier, let it go. Your deceased buddy told you this because he needed to vent, not because he wanted you to take some action. This is entirely her call.
_________________________
Better is the Enemy of Good Enough.
Okay, what’s your point??

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#167877 - 02/25/09 01:37 PM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: Mike_H]
CBP Offline
Stranger

Registered: 05/31/08
Posts: 13
From a woman's perspective. .

I think I'd let it go too. . . and of course you will get a why.

For some reason this woman chose not to involve this man with this boy -- maybe not even financially (which is odd for this day and age). While there were plans to do so, there may not have been plans for this to be a "family unit". He may have simply been a "natural donor to the cause". (Not that THAT has EVER happened!)

So let's say you go to your friend's parents and tell them of this conversation. Their son had a relationship with this woman and there is a child. This child may in fact be the only living legacy left of their son. But you don't know this woman, you may not know her name or where she is. They might know her or not. If we don't know this person, how will they ever go about finding her. Then they will sit there and stew about this long-lost grandchild.

or

Let things take their course and someday maybe the mother or child will find them. . . and they will have a wonderful surprise actually in front of them that is their son's living legacy that they can hug and hold.

And one more thought. . . . there might be one other reason this man wasn't introduced to the child earier or asked for support or whatever. A DNA test might prove otherwise. (Not that THAT has EVER happened) I would hate to put his family through all that turmoil. I can't imagine the family scouring the countryside for the long-lost grandchild only to find out later that it truly wasn't their sons. Toooo crushing.




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#167882 - 02/25/09 03:43 PM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: CBP]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
With your friend's death, your involvement in the matter ended. Leave it be.

You should take comfort in knowing that your friend had enough trust in and respect for you that he confided in you something very personal and sensitive.

If he wanted the matter known to anyone else, he would have told them. He had plenty of time to do this.

Don't violate the trust he placed in you, and do not burden your conscience further by thinking you adopted his responsibility/accountability for the matter. You fulfilled whatever obligation you had simply by listening to your friend and being there when he needed someone. That is done now. Anything more you make of it is self-conjured and unhealthy, and further action will not be productive.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#167883 - 02/25/09 04:10 PM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: benjammin]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 882
Loc: Colorado
+1 to let it go.

If you don't know the woman, even her name, you can't develop any sense about folks' interests in making connections. It's part of the tragedy of his loss. Let it go.

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#167885 - 02/25/09 04:27 PM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: unimogbert]
MedB Offline
Member

Registered: 10/08/05
Posts: 108
Even if you do know the woman and could contact, I would STILL let it go.

Clearly you cared deeply for your friend and I am sorry for your loss. And perhaps this sense of wanting to "do something" comes out of that sense of loss you feel. But with all the caring in the world I mean this...

...it is not your affair and you getting involved is hubris, not love.

Let all involved mourn and move on, and what happens naturally happens.
_________________________
MedB

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#167896 - 02/25/09 06:50 PM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: benjammin]
bsmith Offline
day hiker
Addict

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 589
Loc: ventura county, ca
Originally Posted By: benjammin
Don't violate the trust he placed in you......and further action will not be productive.
1+

and then there are the unintended consequences.
_________________________
“Everyone should have a horse. It is a great way to store meat without refrigeration. Just don’t ever get on one.”
- ponder's dad

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#167897 - 02/25/09 07:17 PM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: bsmith]
DesertFox Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/04/07
Posts: 339
Loc: New York, NY
+1 to what Art in Fla said. At most, I would try to let the woman know he is dead, since you don't know if she even knows, then leave it at that.

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#167898 - 02/25/09 07:36 PM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: DesertFox]
Desperado Offline
Veteran

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas
I said earlier that I needed to think about it. That thought was with a Legal Beagle I built a house for.

His advice was to act as though you never knew about it at all.
_________________________
I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.

RIP OBG

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#167900 - 02/25/09 08:20 PM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: Desperado]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5357
Loc: SOCAL
Agree. Honor your friend by maintaining his confidence.
_________________________
Better is the Enemy of Good Enough.
Okay, what’s your point??

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#167902 - 02/25/09 08:52 PM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: Russ]
stevenpd Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/15/07
Posts: 81
Loc: SoCal
Nothing is gained by stepping into something like this. Not for his son or his family. If he wanted everyone to know he would have said something before. If the boy's mother wanted everyone to know she would say something. Either way, keep your nose out of it.
_________________________
“Always remember the 6 P’s”
(Prior Preparation Prevents [censored] Poor Performance)

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#167906 - 02/25/09 09:45 PM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: stevenpd]
ki4buc Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/10/03
Posts: 710
Loc: Augusta, GA
"No good deed goes unpunished"

Everytime. <b>Everytime</b> I've tried to help others "work things out" and make things better, it never does. You always end up losing friends.

I do not get involved much in stuff unless I absolutely have to. When I do, I'll probably end up the bad guy anyway, and you've probably already pissed me off anyway.

Kinda like when you find two kids fighting, you put both of them in separate corners or discipline them both. Like the current predicament that martinfocazio has with forum rule violations right now.

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#167908 - 02/25/09 10:04 PM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: ki4buc]
SARbound Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 503
Loc: Quebec City, Canada
Thanks everyone, I appreciate your replies very much.

I agree with pretty much everything that was said above... I'll just leave it at that. After all, the mother probably knows enough to take the matters into her own hands, if that's what she wants.

Take care everyone. smile
_________________________
-----
"The only easy day was yesterday."

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#167910 - 02/25/09 11:00 PM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: SARbound]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Keep.

If the mother chooses to search out the parents, so be it. It is her choice. If your friend's family should stumble upon a mention of her and chase her down, it is their choice. A choice that effects two can be fairly made by one of them, but not by a third.
_________________________
-IronRaven

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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#167921 - 02/26/09 12:50 AM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: ironraven]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
There is a time and there would be a place when I might end the keeping it to myself. It might be about when I thought your now-decesaed friend's son was getting toward his teenage years. It wouldn't be before.

It would also depend on what I thought of your now deceased friend's family. I'd have to know them fairly well and think rather highly of them or whoever I told.

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#168361 - 03/02/09 04:06 AM Re: To keep or not to keep this to myself? [Re: Dan_McI]
Chisel Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/05/05
Posts: 1562
I will only interfere if someone's safety or security is at stake, espcially the kid. In this story it doesn't seem to be the case. So, I prefer to leave the whole thing behind me.

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