joy and sorrow

The intermingling of great joy and great sorrow goes on.  My daughter told us ten days ago that she and her boyfriend plan to marry soon — this is a joy.  Then she became  unexpectedly unemployed and she had to focus on that, diverting attention from wedding plans.  And there are various hassles with getting my son and his girlfriend moved into an apartment.  The roller coaster of life.  I was going to post about that when I had a chance.

But now the shock.  Dan, a childhood friend of my son was killed yesterday in an auto crash.   There was a five-year period when six boys gamed together every Friday night.  For the first few years, the gaming was hosted by the Dan’s parents, and then later it moved to our house.  Dan drifted away from the group about the time they graduated high school, and the other boys have not seen  him much in recent years.  My spouse and I remain friends with his parents through church and have seen Dan playing piano at church (he was a superb musician) and at his graduation party in May.   It is hard to think of much else.  Besides my son, I’m in communication with some of the other boys, including some who live elsewhere but happen to be planning to be in town this weekend.  And church folks are exchanging messages about how to help out and funeral planning.  I’ll be going over the parents’ house soon, food in hand.  I don’t know whether they will want me to hang around for comfort, or leave them in the hands of people closer to them.

Author: olderwoman

I'm a sociology professor but not only a sociology professor. I keep my name out of this blog because I don't want my name associated with it in a Google search. Although I never write anything in a public forum like a blog that I'd be ashamed to have associated with my name (and you shouldn't either), it is illegal for me to use my position as a public employee to advance my religious or political views, and the pseudonym helps to preserve the distinction between my public and private identities. The pseudonym also helps to protect the people I may write about in describing public or semi-public events I've been involved with. You can read about my academic work on my academic blog http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/soc/racepoliticsjustice/ --Pam Oliver

8 thoughts on “joy and sorrow”

  1. I am so sorry to read this OW. I am strangely in a similar position. One of my friends and colleagues in the Anthropology department, Pierre Colas, was shot and killed night before last, at his home in Nashville. The Vanderbilt community is reeling, and those of us who knew him are deeply mourning. We’re also in the process of planning memorial events, and trying to figure out how to best support one other. Pierre’s father has just arrived from Mexico City, and his brother is coming from Germany. In an added awful twist of fate, his sister was visiting Pierre this week, and was also shot in the attack. She is in critical but stable condition at the hospital. I just wanted to write to acknowledge that this is happening to me too, and that I share your sadness, and that my thoughts are with you and your family.

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  2. It is impossible to give a general answer, because grief is individual. My own (fortunately limited) experience is that other people didn’t have to hang around, but it was a great comfort knowing that people you (I) cared about, knew about your (my) situation and were available, if necessary.

    In the medium and longer term, people also react differently: Some need time away from their ordinary lives, while others need to get back to work.

    And yes, it is always difficult to find the right words in a situation like this.

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  3. OW: I am so sorry for your loss and for your son’s. Unfortunately there has been too much early death in my 38 years and I recently attended the funeral of a colleague’s adult child who once was my kids’ babysitter. Here is what I know OW: Compassionate presence is both a mystery and a mirace. It changes nothing and yet it changes everything. (from a favorite book of mine, A voluptuous God). You will be a compassionate presence and you will know when it is time to go. Godspeed.

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  4. I’m so sorry too! We had a good friend die in a freak accident while I was at ASA in Atlanta…. much of what you wrote resonated with me.

    But don’t let the joy slip away too — congratulations on your impending in-law-hood!

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  5. I’m so sorry to hear about the sad news (both OW and Jenn). Best wishes to both of you (and the families and friends).

    I lost my close friend and songwriting partner in a car wreck when I was 23. There wasn’t much I felt like I could do for his family other than be around (and play some benefits), but years later, they told me just how much that meant, that we were all keeping the spirit of their loved one alive.

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