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'Does my son know you?' (1 Viewer)

ignatiusjreilly

Footballguy
I wasn't sure if there was an existing thread where it made sense to discuss this amazing essay by The Ringer's NBA writer Jonathan Tjarks, who has metastatic cancer and is confronting his own mortality:

I have already told some of my friends: When I see you in heaven, there’s only one thing I’m going to ask—Were you good to my son and my wife? Were you there for them? Does my son know you?
I'm going to challenge everyone in this thread with the challenge I just posed to myself: Think of every person you know who died too young and left family behind (if you're like me, you unfortunately know all too many of them). What have you done to maintain relationships with those family members and keep the person's memory alive?

 

rockaction

Footballguy
What have you done to maintain relationships with those family members and keep the person's memory alive?
My old collegiate friend died of ALS about six years ago. I had long lost touch with her husband, a good friend of mine for about three years in college, and her. But the wounds opened just the same. To answer your question, though: I have done nothing aside from leave a facebook note when she passed. It's awfully hard to reach out when somebody's wife has died, leaving two children behind. 

I think of him and his children all the time. If only there was a way to bridge the communication and friendship gap we'd accumulated over the years. I figured he didn't like me or we drifted apart, and I'm hesitant to reach back out because what would I say? So silence it is, sadly. 

 

ignatiusjreilly

Footballguy
My old collegiate friend died of ALS about six years ago. I had long lost touch with her husband, a good friend of mine for about three years in college, and her. But the wounds opened just the same. To answer your question, though: I have done nothing aside from leave a facebook note when she passed. It's awfully hard to reach out when somebody's wife has died, leaving two children behind. 

I think of him and his children all the time. If only there was a way to bridge the communication and friendship gap we'd accumulated over the years. I figured he didn't like me or we drifted apart, and I'm hesitant to reach back out because what would I say? So silence it is, sadly. 
I obviously don't know all the details of your situation, and I don't know you, so I'm certainly not going to tell you that you should reach out to your friend's husband. But I will share with you two pieces of advice that may be helpful:

First, I'm totally the champ of avoiding awkward conversations about issues great and small. At this very moment my email inbox is filled with messages I haven't responded to because I'm not sure what to say, and every day I wait it gets even more awkward. But another way of saying that is that the least awkward time to respond to those messages is today, and the second least awkward time is tomorrow. And often, when you rip the Band-Aid off and just respond, you realize a lot of the awkwardness was in your head.

Second, my brother lost his first wife to cancer at the age of 35, and he shared with me at the time how people often say insensitive things -- or say nothing at all -- because they simply don't know what say. Now obviously, everyone reacts in their own way, so there's no one formula for saying something non-awkward, but one thing that he always liked (and I've subsequently found has been well received by others) is when people share memories: "I was thinking of the time I came to visit and we all hung out together." That's especially true if you can share a memory that the surviving family member might not have known about, since it allows them to fill in gaps of their loved one's life. 

And failing that, my go-to line when I don't know what else to say is usually a simple, "I'm remembering so-and-so today and thinking of you." Just that acknowledgement can be surprisingly powerful.

I hope that's helpful.

 

Mrs. Rannous

Footballguy
My old collegiate friend died of ALS about six years ago. I had long lost touch with her husband, a good friend of mine for about three years in college, and her. But the wounds opened just the same. To answer your question, though: I have done nothing aside from leave a facebook note when she passed. It's awfully hard to reach out when somebody's wife has died, leaving two children behind. 

I think of him and his children all the time. If only there was a way to bridge the communication and friendship gap we'd accumulated over the years. I figured he didn't like me or we drifted apart, and I'm hesitant to reach back out because what would I say? So silence it is, sadly. 
A lot of people have this reaction.  It kind of makes the people left behind feel that their loved one is just forgotten.  All you have to say is that you were/are thinking of them.  I'm pretty sure from other things you have said that you have good memories of them.  Talk about that.  The kids might also want to hear about their mom.  The loss really can't hurt any more than it already does, so you won't make it worse or anything.  Since you've mentioned this before, I'm pretty sure it still bothers you.  I could help you, too.  It's nice to remember.

 

Clown Car

Footballguy
It’s too much to talk about here but unfortunately I have a few young adult friends whose parents died when they were children or teens. I have had many occasions to tell them how much their mothers loved them, were so proud of them, or would be so proud of them at various stages of their lives. It both breaks my heart and makes me happy at the same stupid time. F cancer. 

 

ignatiusjreilly

Footballguy
Sadly, Tjarks is now in hospice.

Reading his wife’s post brought back a lot of memories of the day my sister-in-law got the same news. You’ve known from the moment you heard the diagnosis that this day would likely come, but it’s still another thing entirely to realize that it’s here, and the time for “beating the odds” or “hoping for a miracle” is over.

I’m not particularly religious (and not at all Christian), but I’m glad that he and his wife’s relationship with God is providing them comfort in this moment. Praying for both of them and their little boy
 

mr. furley

Footballguy
he was on the Simmons podcast not so long ago and talked about the cancer he had. basically one in a billion deal. Simmons offered some very kind, heartfelt words and told him how much he was loved.

seemed like the kind of guy everyone just liked having around, who kept his spirits knowing his time was very short.

RIP
 

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