Sorrowing with those who sorrow: wise words of advice

A fantastic column in the New York Times today offers timely and thoughtful, real-world suggestions for people who stand just outside the circle of grief or tragedy – those of us who wonder what we can do to help, but often walk away because we don’t know what to do.

It’s a short piece but well worth your time.  The Woodiwisses offer simple and effective suggestions based on their own experiences of tragedy.

The columnist, David Brooks, writes:

[S]uffering is a teacher. And, among other things, the Woodiwisses drew a few lessons, which at least apply to their own experience, about how those of us outside the zone of trauma might better communicate with those inside the zone. There are no uniformly right responses, but their collective wisdom is quite useful.

via The Art of Presence –

Don’t miss the original post that sparked the NYT column:

The New Normal: 10 Things I Learned About Trauma
written by Catherine Woodiwiss, who was hit by a car last fall while riding in DC on her bicycle. She marches on through a long hard road of recovery.

Must read: Listening to Nirvana with a Two-Year-Old : The New Yorker

One of the best things I’ve read in a long time.   Here’s an excerpt; don’t skip reading the whole article. (link follows the quote)

Listening to the song with my son, I noticed an abandon that was childish in its total commitment. You can hear it in the force with which Grohl hits the drums, in Krist Novoselic’s playing, and, most of all, in the release in Cobain’s voice, which is a somewhere between a wail of despair and a delighted squandering of the moment.

Everything was going along fine in our living room until the song got to the break—the low, murky part—at which point Alexander called out to me, “Daddy! It’s scary!”

Nirvana’s music, in its anguish and energy, is scary. “Nevermind” is scary. But the break in “Drain You” is especially scary. I either had to turn it off or find a way to make this work. I didn’t want to turn it off. Instead, I turned it down an infinitesimal amount and addressed my son’s concerns.

“Alexander,” I said, bending over to talk near his face. “This is the part where they are in the swamp. The water is dark and murky, and the trees are low. They’re walking through the wet mud in the dark underbrush of the swamp.”

via Listening to Nirvana with a Two-Year-Old : The New Yorker.