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A kid I know took his own life, to the shock of his family. I do not know them though I have their names thanks to the obituary. He and I were close friends a few years back and I still think the world of him so I want to send them a card. But since he was younger, he left behind parents, step parents, an assortment of siblings and half siblings, and older relatives. I know they're all in shock and would like to make sure they all know they have my condolences, but I'm not sure how to address one card and envelope to so many people. It's the mother's and step-father's address that I have, but I'm sure his father and his sister who don't live there would appreciate being included. Help?

  • What is your age in relation to the child, and what was the nature of your relationship? – WS2 Aug 22 at 12:54
  • Sorry. I'm 13 years older than him; was 29 to his 16 then and am almost 36 to his 23 now. Met in an online writing group 7 years ago and remained friends though never met in person due to distance. But we collaborated on several projects and he was like an unofficial adopted kid or little brother who lived several states away. I'm just not sure what he would have told his parents (because at age 16-23, parental knowledge seems to be on a need to know basis) but my heart breaks for them. – redwingsgirl514 Aug 22 at 13:01
  • Why not say something like "All X's family are in my thoughts." ? You could even say "Please pass on my condolences to the extended family". – Kate Bunting Aug 22 at 16:08
  • This is not really a question about the English Language and more concerns human relations. But, leaving that aside, I concur with the remarks of @Kate Bunting. – WS2 Aug 22 at 16:52
  • Sorry, WS2, I got a little distracted. But @Kate Bunting, thanks. I like that idea. It's more concise than what I was coming up with. – redwingsgirl514 Aug 22 at 16:55
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but I'm not sure how to address one card and envelope to so many people.

Do you mean a physical address or "Dear X,"? Either way, I think you should write two cards and send one to each house. If you don't know the house address for the father and sister, call a different member of the family and ask if they know. If your problem is not knowing how to address them in the card, perhaps you could use "Dear bereaved,"

Bereaved: someone who is suffering the death of a loved one. -Merriam Webster

  • I assume it's the mother and step-father's address that I have. I got it from the kid and periodically mailed books to him. I know it was his mom who told us the news through a social media account of his, and she verified the address as still valid. But I don't feel I know them well enough to bother them for an address for the dad and sister. – redwingsgirl514 Aug 22 at 13:04
  • If you do not know who lives there, it's pretty safe to refer to them as the bereaved. If possible, look at the social media of the other people to see if they have addresses listed. Failing that, look them up in a phone book and find out the address tied to the name and number. They might have a landline. – David Robie Aug 22 at 14:27

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