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Old 03-30-06, 05:44 PM   #1
slvoid
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Did I do the right thing?

Well that was probably the hardest thing I've had to do in a while. I knew him better than anyone currently down here so I just spent the last 2 hours going through my coworker's stuff to pack away for his mom to take home in a few days. I almost threw up twice.
Anyway I found a bunch of printed emails that he had deleted off his computer between his girlfriend and him getting into some pretty heated arguments with his girlfriend.
I'm not sure if his mom should see them. I put them in a folder and hid them in my desk. I guess I could always say I found the folder later and give it to her but I just wanted her to see the best of him.
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Old 03-30-06, 06:09 PM   #2
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I say it's two parts wrong, but one big right.

The Wrong:
It's not yours
It's showing her the "censored" version of her son.

The big right:
I'm pretty sure she wants to remember him as she imagined, so I think this was at the least a very kind gesture.

Hey, think of it this way....would having that drama do anything good for her? What about bad? If the good outweighs the bad, then send it too....if not, just hide it.
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Old 03-30-06, 06:28 PM   #3
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Catatonic makes a very good point. But I would say send it anyway. Having arguments is a part of life and aren't necessarily some kind of character flaw. It's not like you found a crack pipe or a snuff video (if that were the case, I'd recommend that you throw it away), it's just emails. His mom won't love him or miss him any less if you just give her everything you found.
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Old 03-30-06, 06:58 PM   #4
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Unless they are pretty bad, give them to her. She knows her son, and will cherish anything that someone might give her and to remember him by.

My wife and I so enjoyed reading the diary her dad had kept over the years, even though it was private. It gave us insights we never had before.
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Old 03-30-06, 08:06 PM   #5
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I had to finish off the affairs of the estate and clean out my mum's house after she died. My dad and brother had taken off her funeral to Asia and S.America for a year of traveling. I found out stuff about my mum I had never known, it made her more real and human to me. I'd say give all his stuff over to the family, they'd appreciate it more in the long run.
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Old 03-30-06, 08:09 PM   #6
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I say give them to his mum. You never know how it might help them, and I don't think it'll cause any damage. I think your intentions are noble. What you're doing is a tough job, and I'm sure his family really appreciates it.
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Old 03-30-06, 08:39 PM   #7
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Emails are very personal. Just ask the question...would he want these shared with his mother? Would you? I don't want my emails shared with anyone, whether i am here or whether I am gone. Keep in mind that most emails are written knowing that they will remain confidential.

So they are never intended to be shared with anyone except for the recipient. You knew your friend as well as anyone. That's why you didn't share them. I'd say you did the right thing.
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Old 03-30-06, 08:54 PM   #8
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Hmmm...I don't think you've done anything unjust, and I would go with Ranger's opinion on this one.

Sorry to hear you had to do this.
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Old 03-30-06, 09:48 PM   #9
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wait....im sorry.....what happened to your coworker?
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Old 03-30-06, 09:53 PM   #10
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Killed on his motorbike scarpi41.....
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Old 03-30-06, 10:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarpi41
wait....im sorry.....what happened to your coworker?
Oops.. sorry, forgot to fill in the details.
Rider down.
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Old 03-30-06, 10:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger
Emails are very personal. Just ask the question...would he want these shared with his mother? Would you? I don't want my emails shared with anyone, whether i am here or whether I am gone. Keep in mind that most emails are written knowing that they will remain confidential.

So they are never intended to be shared with anyone except for the recipient. You knew your friend as well as anyone. That's why you didn't share them. I'd say you did the right thing.

What he said....
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Old 03-30-06, 11:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger
Emails are very personal. Just ask the question...would he want these shared with his mother? Would you? I don't want my emails shared with anyone, whether i am here or whether I am gone. Keep in mind that most emails are written knowing that they will remain confidential.

So they are never intended to be shared with anyone except for the recipient. You knew your friend as well as anyone. That's why you didn't share them. I'd say you did the right thing.
I agree ^^
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Old 03-31-06, 12:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
I knew him better than anyone currently down here... Anyway I found a bunch of printed emails that he had deleted off his computer between his girlfriend and him getting into some pretty heated arguments with his girlfriend.
I'm not sure if his mom should see them. I put them in a folder and hid them in my desk. I guess I could always say I found the folder later and give it to her but I just wanted her to see the best of him.
The best intention is probably to do what your co-worker would want, if you know.
If you don't know, then what his family (not just the mother) would want, if you know.

In your position, I would err on the side of not suppressing what you do not know was intended to be suppressed--being mindful if he really wanted to keep it confidential, then there would have been no reason to print the messages, and then to save them, especially to save them at work. If he wanted to keep his private life private, then documenting efforts at working out interpersonal and intimate relationship conflict should have been kept out of the work place. (I mean, if his supervisor could have gone through the desk and found the folder, then there may not have been a reasonable expectation of privacy. This may be a point governed by company policies/rules, state and municipal privacy provisions.)

If you read the content of his emails, then the private and confidential aspects of the co-worker's personal life have already been divulged to somebody (you) who may have less reason to know than his mother does (IOW, if she doesn't have a right to know private information, then you probably have less reason to know). If he was not close enough of a friend for you to know the family relationship, then you might be making unwarranted assumptions about how close he was with his mother. She may have known all about the situation with the GF, especially if the co-worker was close to his mother (can't tell from your note; it's also possible they hardly communicated so she'd hope to learn whatever is available that she missed out on, good or bad). Most parents probably expect their adult children to have relationship problems; most parents however might not anticipate learning about p0rn hobbies.

Last point: It's not clear to me if "his computer" refers to his personal computer at home, or one furnished for his use at work. Many employers have policies that essentially claim ownership or control over email communications during work using the employer's equipment and network. You might need to bump the decision up to his supervisor.
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Old 03-31-06, 08:03 AM   #15
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If a mother loves her child she loves the good and the bad. And an argument is not bad.
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