The first person I told
was not a family member.
Anticipating having to tell my wife, Jeanne, I called our doctor’s answering
service. It was about 3am. The doctor on call was one I didn’t know. I woke him.
He sleepily said, “This is the doctor…what are your symptoms?”
I told him, “In a minute I have to tell my wife our son was just killed
in an accident. I need to have something to give her…so she can handle that.”
He woke up immediately, like only a father would. “Oh my God! My God!
What happened?” I told him. And at three in the morning he stayed on the
phone to tell me, “I’ll call something in. But if there is anything, anything
at all I can do, please call me.”
There. I had uttered the words, and the reaction was immediately
as empathetic as any I have heard since, and that helped me go on.