It’s hard not to feel sorrow when a friendship flounders. Maybe you are experiencing a difficult time and a friend vanishes; or, a friend experiences life changes and seems to drop out. It can be hard to pinpoint what has happened and if you are uncomfortable asking, you can only speculate.

This happened to me when a friend disappeared while I was going through a tough time. To make matters worse, my friend drove by my street every day on her way to work, yet I did not hear from her in over a year. I was hurt and missed her terribly. I knew someone had to break the ice, so I called to tell her how much I missed her. We were able to resume our friendship, but we never discussed the lapse in our relationship.

A family member is going through this right now. Her close friend withdrew from her after her marriage, and she has seen little of her in the last two years. The friend’s mother recently died, and my family member learned the death was a result of alcoholism. The bereaved friend is now even more withdrawn, and my family member does not know what to do.

It can be hard to pinpoint why the relationship faltered. It could be the friend was uncomfortable sharing her mother’s health issues or, she might have chosen to use her free time to focus on building her new family. Whatever the reason, my family member can still reach out and send condolences to the bereaved. If written in a positive tone, she may potentially open the door to a relationship renewal. Here’s how:

Dear Mary Ann,

I was so sad to hear of your mom’s death. I have such happy memories of my frequent visits to your home, and I will remember your mom fondly. I’m sorry we have been out of touch. I’ve missed you and the wonderful times we shared. I will check in with you in the coming weeks, and if you are up to a visit, I would like to see you.

Please share my condolences with your dad. I’m keeping you both in my thoughts and prayers.

Love, Cindi


Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now at a reduced price for e-books for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store.

Photo Scrabble and friends (1) via photopin (license)

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Comment by T.C. Goodwin on January 20, 2016 at 8:10am

 Even though the relationship is strained... a true & loving friend ( distant and far) will show love and reach out to that person by card or letter. Encouraging words have a very powerful effect on those who are grieving. -Proverbs 17:17

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