When something tragic befalls a friend, or even an acquaintance, I used to wonder if expressing my condolences and sorrow really meant much to the afflicted person. It certainly is different from person to person. For Akumi and me, I think the answer to that is yes, it is helpful. We certainly felt some degree of comfort knowing friends and even strangers who read my blog were sending us well wishes and thinking of us.
So thank you for your comments. We appreciate them.