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.

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