Here’s a weird thing about having a dead child: when you call people, it’s common for them to ask “Is everything okay?” or the more ominous, “What’s wrong?” This is often said with a tone of declaration rather than inquiry. It is as if once the unfathomably terrible thing happens, any other post-apocalyptic calamity is possible. Yesterday, I called a formerly relentlessly optimistic colleague. He answered even though he was in a meeting “just in case.” This reaction was a bit counter-intuitive as, now that my dear daughter has passed, I’m out of calamities—I have nothing left to lose. I’m not going to call him to say I’ve died. Therefore, by process of elimination, my call must be less dire. When I told him I had a project idea I wanted his opinion on, he listened with the intensity of a spy transcribing nuclear codes. The fact people care this much about me that they’re capable of such concern is a tremendous compliment. If my lackadaisical attitude towards my health is any indication, I don’t know that I care this much about myself. The harder it gets, the more my friends feel like the best family ever.
Updated: Jun 26, 2019