I was a rock (but I got better)

I read an article on the front page of Sunday’s New York Times (for some reason, they keep throwing it in our driveway, though we’ve never ordered it) about a family working through grief. [Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/us/a-soldiers-family-mourning-but-moving-forward.html?_r=0]. It describes the family of Lt. Col. Paul Finken as they try to move forward years after his death on patrol in Afghanistan. Not too many years ago, I would have been impressed and thoughtful about such an article, but probably not moved. On Sunday, I wept openly.

I come from a tradition of stoicism and disengagement, where one appreciates the travails of others but does not connect emotionally, especially not with strangers. It would have been hard to imagine tears rolling down my face as they did on Sunday. That’s the difference that years of living with Karen and the girls has made in my life. Somehow, without knowing it, I made the decision that it was okay to feel strongly about a situation, to empathize enough to share someone’s pain. I have to say that I like the change and I have my family to thank for it.

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