My good childhood friends' dad just passed. His name was John. I did not know him very well, beyond being yelled at by him while playing in his house. I spent my entire childhood two doors away from him.
John had a heart attack. His son, Ralph, was once a very close friend of mine. I felt terrible when I heard the news. I felt terrible for his mother, now a widow, and I, myself, was stricken with terror. I worry about my own father's passing. His health has always been an issue. Each reminder of death slaps me with a cold hard reminder of the frailty of life.
I did not know how to tell Ralph how sorry I was, and how sad I was for him. I wrote him a letter and I am looking for input from anyone willing to dispense it. I want to know if this is the right thing to write to my good friend Ralph, who has just lost his father.
This is the letter:
I am really sorry to hear about your dad passing. I was fighting back tears and crying for three or four days after hearing the news. I really feel bad for both you and your mom. I am very glad you two still have each other.
For some reason, when I heard about John, I was immediately thinking of our childhood. We had amazing times together, you are a true friend. I still think about how fun it was getting to grow up with you. Playing store, riding bikes around the block, building forts, playing video games, catching those helicopter leaves from your tree, playing football in the street or hockey in the alley, me drawing pictures and you inventing cool things out of paper and string. Back when things were less complicated, we just had fun all the time.
Ralph, you were a huge part of my life and I really want you to know how much you mean to me. I would not have wanted anyone but you to be my best friend when we were growing up. You were always such a nice guy, and I learned a ton from you. I know we still see each other time and again, and its always fun to run into you, but things will never be the same. Childhood with you was a blast. I will never ever forget it.
Thanks for being there, and being such a great guy. I know this is a hard time for you and your mom. I want you to know that I am here for you anytime you need to talk, hang out, get a beer. I will always be your friend.
Your dad will be missed.
note: all names were changed to protect privacy.