Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How to Talk About Dead People on a Sunny Day

Long weekend at the ballpark: 27 hours in two days, seven softball games. Last I checked, that was a part-time job. Here is La, looking just like her daddy, same expression and everything:

This is actually at her batting lesson, but it is softball-related, so it fits. #MakeItWork

She was so excited to get started; this was the first fall tournament (of three), then some time off from games (not workouts, though), and then we hit it hard again at the end of January (first tourney usually in March).

But that's not really what this post is about.

One of La's teammates lost her mother to cancer last year. This weekend, the papa sat alone, and between games the teammate and the papa left and went off by themselves. They are quiet anyway, but they seem like a self-contained unit.

I don't want to be one of those parents that force friendships on their kids, but La and her teammate share something that no other kid on the team can possibly understand (thank goodness). The teammate is a year older and so was La's age nearly exactly when her mom died. I am trying to figure out how to approach the papa without A) seeming like a jackass ("Hey, sorry your wife died, but can you help me figure out how to help my kid, since your kid has made it through a year?"), or B) bringing something up that is painful on a beautiful day ("Hey, I know this is totally out of nowhere on this gorgeous day while you're eating some cheesefries, but can we talk about how your wife died of cancer and you are all coping?"). They are both very sweet people, and as mentioned in the first paragraph, we will be spending nearly unendurable amounts of time together for the next ten months, and it is important to get off on the right foot.

Suggestions welcome. :)


  1. If I were "Mr. Self Contained" I would want you to come up and open with something like "This is awkward; no two ways about it. I have been thinking for a couple of weeks now how to even approach you. So please forgive me if I am about as subtle as an elephant dancing Swan Lake. I know you lost your wife to cancer last year. And you probably know I have recently lost my husband to an auto accident. But I am scared now that on top of all that I may be losing my daughter too. I see you as a survivor not just because you are coping after your loss but because you seem to have formed a great bond with your daughter. I want to survive in that way too."

    Then let it ride. I think he will totally understand and you will have gotten the awkwardness out of the way. Then if the convo goes well you can spring for the second round of cheese fries.

    1. I think this is a great way to go. Address the duck, as Julia Child would say. Thanks, Andrew. <3

  2. Invite them to go for ice cream! Don't even mention it. Let friendship build with the kids on their own.