Assistance, Please

I’ve been mulling what follows over for 48 hours. Arriving at no easy answer/resolution, I turn to my fellow PPPers for any thoughts, suggestions, recommendations or other input you might offer.

As many know, I reside in a townhouse situated within an apartment complex. Given the length of time here, my walks, and general interaction from sitting on the front stoop, I meet many residents. Some, I know by name. Most, I recognize. As the property manager (newly hired, relatively) said last week, most know who I am.

One of the latter is a young man I’ll refer to as W (he’s a writer). W and his spouse (“S” hereinafter) reside in a townhouse in the building to my South.I’ve not met S.

Thursday evening W knocked on my door looking to bum a cigarette. No problem there. As we were standing outside, I asked W how things were as it was apparent he wanted to talk. He responded with a not very good. He then told me that in early November, the little boy (about one year old) that I had met earlier this Fall had died suddenly. My head reeling, I made the appropriate noises and told him about my wife’s death four years ago. As we talked, it became clear that even though the boy was not W’s child (biologically), W had been very attached to him. W then mentioned he was in counseling with an appropriate individual whose name I recognized. We continued to talk, with me listening and offering such bits of learning I had to offer. During this time (about an hour), W’s cell phone rang multiple times, irking W. He finally answered, and after that conversation, he and I continued. W was quite agitated.

W acknowledged he was working through his grief, having moved recently to the anger stage. W then went on to tell me S refused to get any help, preferring to habituate various bars nightly for the purported purpose of becoming and remaining numb. Further, S had locked W’s car and taken the keys (which is why W was out of smokes). The rationale was to prevent W from potentially harming himself. I think otherwise, but whatever. Then, S calls again, and got most disturbed by the fact W was not home, but rather out talking with a neighbor. S kept getting louder and louder, finally terminating the call. W said S doesn’t like their next-door neighbor, who has been trying to help. The feeling is mutual; I’m acquainted with the neighbor (who has an adorable 15 month old daughter).

The next day, W and S’s neighbor came by. She related that there had been a terrible argument after S had returned from the bar (“shit-faced”, she called it), and S had threatened her earlier that day. After she clarified that W hadn’t been talking to her, S went ballistic and wanted to know with whom W had been talking. She didn’t know, but had a feeling it was I involved. So she could stay truthful, I neither confirmed nor denied. Her parting comment was that anyone who had been talking to W needed to be on their toes.

The question(s): If W comes back, I intend to do my best to help in any way I can. Should I refuse to so do? If S shows up shit-faced and threatening, 911 gets called by me. No further discussion on that. However, if S comes by and just wants to talk (without W) about the boy’s death, should I listen or suggest S find another outlet? If I was still practicing, the answer would be easier.

Any advice, etc., offered will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

N.B. Full disclosure: W’s mother (single) has seen me during my excursions and has bugged W about who I am. I’ve told W the bare details, and he wishes to introduce the two of us. If his mother is the woman with whom I had a conversation two months ago utside W’s front door, I’m interested.


Filed under Ethics, family, Life Lessons

9 responses to “Assistance, Please

  1. Wow, 617. I just saw this and you are in quite the spot.

    FWIW, I think you should continue to talk with W who clearly needs a friend. And calling 911 at the first sign of trouble is always a good idea. Sounds like S needs some serious help, but no one can help someone who doesn’t want help. Old joke. How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the light bulb really has to want to change.

    As for W’s mother, I say go for it. Life it too short to live without friendship, companionship, and even love somewhere down the road. If you are interested, go with your gut. It would never occur to anyone who knows you would think you were only being friends with W to get to the mom. ๐Ÿ™‚ JK

    Your always wise counsel will benefit W, as will just being pals and knowing a friend is in the neighborhood. How sad that the boy died. Grief is a horrible thing, and not easily overcome, and no one knows that better than you. And you could benefit from the friendship of W. One can never have too many friends.

    We love you here, 617. We just want you to be happy, and safe. Only you can determine how to reach those ends. I know I’ll always love and support you no matter what you decide, even though I’m hundreds of miles away.

  2. wicked

    PP said it all quite perfectly. Not that I thought she wouldn’t. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m in 100% agreement of all.

    As for the mother, all I have to say is that it has to beat Plenty of Fish. If you don’t know what PoF is, don’t worry. You don’t need to. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. I didn’t see this post until responses were made, and then I couldn’t find the responses very easily. [palm plant] I’m new here. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You already know talking to anyone ‘under the influence’ is an exercise in futility. You might, if the professional W is seeing hasn’t already, point him in the direction of Al-Anon because skills are learned there he may need in his relationship with S, to keep him moving forward and help ensure S doesn’t bog him down.

    Otherwise, I can’t see any reason for not talking to neighbors — all of them — if you choose to, and it does get to be your choice. You’ll know when you should and shouldn’t, what needs to be cut short or stopped before it gets started. You were there, W needed to talk and you listened. I know anything you said was thoughtful. Do be careful. You’re very kind so should be on guard against getting involved in something that might end less than well. Involve yourself to the extent that you are safe!

    Oh, and W’s Mother is a whole separate subject so I say GOOD LUCK. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thanks, guys; all good thoughts. Things are calm for the moment. As well might have been apparent, I was concerned about Domestic Violence, among other things.

    Giggle for the day: W (and his mother) thought I was in my early 50s. Now that it has been established otherwise, the mother (according to W) is relieved, as she is 60, and had a concern about that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Waiting for the (still-promised) introduction.

  5. I just saw this for the first time……(duh, I’m a little slow to these parties, you know) LMAO

    Clearly W needs someone to talk with – and possibly a father figure to help him in this time of grief?

    And another factor – you’re not as emotionally close to the little boy’s death – and maybe that is a good thing for W? You can be a source of comfort, guidance and just someone to listen to W – who is not going through the raw pain of the little boy’s death himself. (does this make any sense?)

    But, you’ve had to endure the process of losing your wife – so maybe your outlook and past experiences could help W when he needs it the most?

    As for S and her drinking – I wonder, is this something new since the little boy’s death or has drinking always been her outlet? If there is any trouble – 911 is the way to go to handle that problem.

    But – grief makes every person react differently – and it sounds like this couple are not grieving together…… and sometimes a tragic death can cause more damage to our relationships than we realize at the time.

    NOW – as to W’s mother – I only have one thing to say – this possibility of a new relationship seems to have happened quite by chance – so grab this opportunity and just see where it leads?

    I’ve never met you in person – but I know how much you loved your wife. Nothing can ever replace her in your heart – but just think, would your wife want to see you be happy if given the chance?

    And from the way you talk about your two daughters, I suspect they would like to see their Dad happy – if the right woman comes along. Am I right?

    But – the decision is ultimately up to you……but I’m sure you’re wise enough to know to watch out for the pitfalls.

    But, how exciting……nothing like a new chapter in one’s life to make your life more fulfiling.

    And just because a new chapter may be starting – that does not mean the old chapters are no longer there – it just means that life is full of some very wonderful moments – so GRAB as many of those moments as you can..

    • Thanks, indy. We really need to meet in person one of these days. I like to talk, so be sure to allow much time for that meeting. ๐Ÿ™‚

      My wife was quite firm on one thing during the bleak time between final prognosis and her death – life was to go on. BTW, all married folks out there, may your spouse be as wonderful as mine.

      Time to go to feed my face. Cold weather = comfort food, and I’ve some semi-homemade spaghetti sauce to heat up and consume with fresh pasta. Sometimes, even I’m amazed at how domesticated I am; heck, I still put the seat down.

      • I would love to meet you in person also – and everyone on this blog. Maybe someday after the busy holidays and when whoever turned on the Frigid Air Conditioning can see their way into turning on some much needed heat…LOL

        As for loving to talk… posts tend to ramble on and on…..and there is a reason for that…..ROFLAO

        Your fresh pasta with homemade spaghetti sauce sounds great……