It's About Them

Young People … Our Greatest Resource

Slip, Slipping Away

This will be a sad post. My wife’s cousin is dying with pancreatic cancer. She’s at his house right now; the end for him is very close. VERY close.

All of this got me to thinking, and I’d be interested in your thoughts also.

My wife grew up with this cousin, who is the oldest grandchild on my wife’s side of the family. What I’m saying is … this is OUR generation; not the parents or the grandparents … the kids.

He was a hulk of a man, a football star in high school. He saw combat action in Vietnam and came out of the Army and followed a career in law enforcement. He was the beloved Chief of Police in our community until his health caused him to retire much too early. He served as a deacon in his church and was the rock his family always counted on. He dearly loved his grandchildren and loved nothing better than spending time with them.

I know him, of course, but he and my wife were especially close. To see her go through this imminent loss is dificult for me to take. That might be second-hand grief, but it hurts just the same.

The intensity of events like this is rare, thank God. But they do cause us all to take a moment to realize that a bad day for us could be a wonderful day for folks who truly are hurting in a massive way. It also causes is to reflect on how we would react to these kinds of circumstances in our own lives.

And, since this is a blog about young people, how do we help children deal with loss? I think we do it by telling them the absolute truth, but from a perspective of understanding and unfaltering support. I would encourage you to tell them that, no matter what, we live in a country that will see children are taken care of one way or another. (I believe that’s still true.)

Well, I told you it would be a sad post today. So, if you have a moment during the next day or two, you might send some thoughts or prayers by way of this good man and his family.

His name is Keith.

James Sutton, Psychologist  www.docspeak.com

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August 6, 2007 - Posted by | adversity, Counselors, Educators, family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem

3 Comments »

  1. I agree, we must be honest and supportive with children. They are much more open and resiliant then we give them credit for.
    As for Keith, may he be engulfed in love and peace. For all the people who will miss him, may they find comfort, peace and love in who he is with an understanding that he is not leaving, simply shifting forms.

    Like

    Comment by tobeme | August 8, 2007 | Reply

  2. Dear Dr. Sutton, I’ve not been here for awhile, and that was surely my loss. And, as a cancer survivor (so far 18 months) I feel for the family of your wife’s cousin. While I was going through chemo-therapy and the issue was still in doubt (not in my mind perhaps – but surely in the mind of my family) I saw the worry lines on my child’s face, though she was an adult. I heard the quiet sniffles of my wife when she didn’t think I noticed her crying. Those of us who have faced this dread disease worry more about those who we might leave behind then we ever do about ourselves and we would agree with you that “…we do it by telling them the absolute truth, but from a perspective of understanding and unfaltering support. I would encourage you to tell them that, no matter what, we live in a country that will see children are taken care of one way or another.”

    Children need to learn to deal with loss, and it is our job as parents and adults to help them do that. In the “olden days” when life was far more precarious than it is in many ways now, death was a common part of life and our youngsters understood it at a much earlier age. We need to get back to the practice of letting our children know that death is surely a part of life, and that those remaining behind will not be forgotten, nor abandoned. That is, I think, the greatest worry they will have; “What will happen to me.”

    Thanks for an important post.

    Like

    Comment by GM Roper | August 18, 2007 | Reply

  3. Some excellent thoughts on the matter, George. Thank you, so much.

    Like

    Comment by docspeak | August 18, 2007 | Reply


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