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Monday, September 19, 2011

Missing Alfred

I just wanted to update regular readers on the family of David's best friend Alfred, who passed away this April. David has been making an effort to visit Alfred's 2 year old daughter every few months. He is her godfather, and now, more than ever, he wants to be a significant part of her life. He'd like her to feel like she knows him, and at her young age he's worried she'll forget him if too much time goes by between visits. We live about an 8 hour drive apart (or a direct flight, hurray!) and we've been able to see the family three times over the summer.
This past weekend David traveled to upstate New York for a memorial service for Alfred. Unfortunately, I could not attend because I could not get time off work. The service was mainly for the sake of his mother, who could not attend his funeral since she was in the CCU recovering from quadruple bypass at the time of his death (while this is a terrible situation for a mother to be in, in a way it was a blessing, because in light of the seriousness of her surgery, she and her son had a long and serious phone conversation just days before his death. It was meant to be a farewell love you call in case she did not survive the procedure; who knew it would be the other way around). I know this service was tough for David, and I wish I could have been there, too.
We, like the rest of Alfred's family (Davis has long been considered basically family), are struggling with sadness, anger, and sometimes still disbelief. It's hard to know how to cope with such a large loss. As the months pass, David and I have tried to handle our grief in appropriate ways.
1. We recall the many funny memories that include Alfred on a regular basis. David has thousands of stories, and even as a newcomer, I have plenty, too. Alfred actually drove David and I to our reception after a limo mix-up at our wedding!
2. We spend time with David's godchild and talk comfortably about Daddy with her. Although she was only 2 1/2 at his death, she is a smart cookie and talks about him clearly. She'll even pick out a family photo and relate what happened at the time ("This is after we went to the zoo!").
3. We pray for peace about the circumstances of his death. As more information comes to light surrounding the events that lead up to Alfred's sudden and tragic death from sepsis, we are filled with anguish as we see how easily his death could have been prevented. But these thoughts only lead to frustration and bitterness and they don't bring Alfred back. We have been struggling to let this go. This is especially hard for me, as, with my medical background, I bristle at the breaches of standard care and sepsis protocol.
4. If we need to be sad, we're sad. We cry if we have to. We miss him.
5. We write letters to the family. I know Alfred's family is feeling a lot more of the same grief we have. We've made an effort to record memories and sorrows and share with his family. We're all bearing each others' burdens of grief.
6. We don't do Alfred-y things. Alfred was a big LSU fan and we avoided watching the game. Although we find that talking about memories is helpful, going out of our way to do things that we would ordinarily do with Alfred (David basically only watches LSU if Alfred wants to watch the game with us) just highlights his absence.

Of course this isn't the kind of sadness that passes quickly, but I think we're doing ok now. David still has rough spots and sometimes I'll see tears in his eyes, but he's coping well.
Please continue to keep all of Alfred's loved ones in your prayers.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update Gracie. Thinking of you guys through this hard time. I think it's wonderful you're reaching out so much to Alfred's family and especially his daughter!