DEAR HARRIETTE: Tragically, one of my nephew’s best friends was recently murdered while he was on the job. Someone just came up to him and shot him for no reason. And he got away.
This young man had so much to look forward to. He was one of the good ones. He had his head on his shoulders right, and he was building a business. Now he’s gone, and the whole community is devastated. He has become a statistic, another young Black man who was senselessly murdered.
What can we do to help people remember him? It’s too horrible to just be sad for a minute and that’s it. His family and closest friends are in shock. I’m wondering if I can do anything to help.
Keeping His Memory Alive
DEAR KEEPING HIS MEMORY ALIVE: I am so sorry to learn about this tragedy. Young lives cut short are too frequent, especially young Black men.
Do you know what his interests were? If he was involved in any civic organizations? If he belonged to a church or community center, perhaps a scholarship fund could be established there in his name. Or you could go the political route and talk to local organizations that are agitating against gun violence to see if they can help draw attention to his life in an ongoing manner. Mark the date of his death, and help to organize a memorial for next year when the time draws near.
Talk to your nephew to see what he thinks is appropriate. It’s important that whatever is done is in alignment with his family’s wishes and ability to handle. Some people do not want a lot of attention brought to them, especially when they are grieving. Pay attention to what they want, and align your steps accordingly.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister started a family group of about five of us who do word puzzles and share our scores. It turns out that this is a lot of fun. We stay connected without necessarily talking to each other. We make comments about our wins and losses and simply have fun.
My only issue is that we haven’t included everybody. The group is cross-generational, but there are some key family members who don’t participate. I wonder now if that is by their choice or if they were inadvertently not invited.
I’m not trying to make this game and engagement political or awkward, but the thought did cross my mind. Should I ask my sister?
DEAR INCLUDE EVERYONE: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking your sister if she has invited the other family members in question and, if not, why not. Rather than worrying or wondering about the group’s composition, just ask her.
This could be an honest omission — or there could be a reason. For example, many people do not like to play word puzzles. Some people may be so competitive that they could turn the experience into a less friendly engagement.
Since your sister is the founder of the group, talk to her and follow her lead.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.