Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ignorance and silence in the face of loss

Reprinted from August 24, 2010 (accidentally deleted):

Casey's death changed the way I look at loss personally and as an attorney. I have met with several families after Casey's death for the puposes of legal representation. I do so diffently now than I did before. I know that as a person suffering a loss I need support and that it is so dificult for others to provide that support. It seems that initially there can be a failure of support that was hoped for, then perhaps a withdrawal of support as time goes on and then just downright awful support-judging, criticism, unsolicited advice giving. It is becoming more evident to me that I need to take a role in helping others learn how to help me and provide the support that I need. The framework for providing/receiving/obtaining support could be as follows:

Let me tell you what happened to me.

It is ok and even helpful to talk about it and to bring up the subject of my loss.

Here is what you can do to help me.

These , again for me, seem to address the issues of what I need as a victim, the awkwardness and ignorance about loss, and directly communicating what I need to educate others about how to best help me. In applying these concepts to my legal practice I know I can better tell my client's stories.

A Need to Talk About Casey

Reprinted from 2010 (prior version accidentally deleted):

We continue to meet new people who have learned of our loss. We continue to meet parents who have also lost children. It is so clear to me that we need to talk about our children - we need to give their life meaning in whatever ways possible - we do not want our children who lived such very short lives to be forgotten. As I have said before, society does not make it easy sometimes for us to feel comfortable talking about our loss. Some of us have been fortunate to have those surrounding us who try to understand while many of us have not been so fortunate. Talking about our children is another way of keeping them alive. Many of us have also set up scholarships in our childrens' names and have tried to do something positive and lasting in their memory. We do this for them but very much also for us. What do we need to recover? What is recovery from this most awful experience? Someone recently talked to me about the difference between acceptance and peace. I have some measure of acceptance but little if anything in the nature of peace.

New Jersey Pedestrian Safety Law is Changed

Reprinted from April 2010 (prior post accidentally deleted):

On April 1, 2010 a new law in New Jersey designed to protect pedestrians went into effect. With my wife we attended several press conferences across the state to announce the changes. Casey's story was part of the impetus to have the law enacted according to some traffic safety officials. There was an incredible amount of press, television and newspaper, and it was an emotional day, but overall healing. The thought that somone may not die as a result of a pedestrian accident in the future and another family may be spared what we have gone through is comforting.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Who is my oldest child?

Casey was 21 years 3 months and 11 days old when she died. Brett turned 21 in March of this year. I had been anticipating the day when Brett would have been alive on this earth longer than Casey. That was June 14th. Brett was thinking about it also it turns out.

So is Casey still my oldest child or is it now Brett? I was talking with Brett and he wondered if Casey would always be his big sister. He said that , for example, when he was 30 he would be more mature than Casey had been at 21. I asked him what Casey would have said about that. We both started to laugh, and we laughed and laughed. "No way" Casey would have said in a heartbeat and would say it for quite a while.

Casey will always be my little girl that was so precocious, the rebellious and independent teen, the awkward girl turning into a graceful and beautiful young woman and the elegant and sophisticated city woman who made me so proud to be her father. She will not age past 21, she won't get those lines in her face or perhaps add those extra pounds. Casey's birth made me a father and she will always be my first born but I think, probably to her chagrin, that one day Brett will become my oldest child. What do you think Casey-when Brett is old and gray maybe he will catch up?..................."No way Dad."