Advice wanted-a family sadness(long)

I have a favorite cousin. He’s in his early forties. Years ago he was married for the first time and divorced, with a daughter from that marriage, whom he raised. Later he remarried a wonderful woman, and my cousin’s daughter has been her own. There is a brother from the second marriage, a young boy.

Last May the older girl graduated from high school, and in the fall started college. She had a boyfriend to whom she was engaged, although I suspect my cousin was not in favor of that at all, them both being recent high school graduates and so young. Now they have split up, and my cousin’s daughter(call her Jane, not her real name) has dropped out of school. My cousin is beside himself, as Jane seems to be in a totally unexpected meltdown. She is currently living with an aunt(Joe’s sister, also my cousin of course), who is being frustrated by Jane’s behavior as well. The girl is lying to her about her activities, she won’t settle her transcipt to avoid a series of F’s, she is being rude to her family and bad to her father and stepmother.

As far as I know nobody ever would have seen something like this happening. Jane’s biological mother developed troubles, which led to the divorce years ago, but Jane was a very little girl then. Since that time Jane has visited with her mother, who is an invalid, and is acquainted with her mother’s family, but they seem mystified too.

The advice needed is this. What in the heck do I say to my dear cousin? I love most of my relatives but “Joe” is special, for a service he rendered me many years ago. Do I write him and offer support? What could I possibly say to help, or make things better? I don’t want to pretend nothing is happening, but I don’t have the words just now, just an aching heart for a good man and his family. I have prayed for Joe and Jane, of course, and Joe’s wife and son, who are also being affected.

Can anyone chime in with some good ideas?

By all means (write, call, visit, whatever) your cousin. Don’t worry so much about what to say. What you say isn’t so important as your making contact with him during a difficult time. Family isn’t about having the perfect words at every crisis.

Just let him know you’re there if he needs you.

Yep, write.

Simply say you know they’re all going through a tough time just now and you’re just letting them know you care. It doesn’t have to be long or detailed, but if Joe responds you can always write again with more depth.

I really hope it all ends up okay.

What SandyHook said – just tell him you love him and that he and his family are in your (thoughts, prayers, whatever would be appropriate). Tell him that you don’t know what else to say.

As Sandy said, don’t worry about what to say, just get in touch.
Tell him you are there to help if he needs anything or to listen if he needs to talk. Let him know how special he is to you and that you’ve kept him and his family in your prayers.
Something as simple as “I understand that Jane is going through a difficult time. I’ve been thinking of all of you. What can I do to help?” Just open the door.
Best of luck and good wishes to you and your family.

Thanks for the responses. I think I will write first, then call. Joe lives about two hours away, a little far to just happen to “drop in”. But we do exchange notes, primarily when one or the other of our former high schools,(bitter rivals) beats the other in a football or basketball game. That’s all in fun of course. We all in the family just hope Jane will come to her senses, or seek professional help.