Thursday, April 26, 2007

"Coaching the Grief-Stricken"

In this week's issue of Sports Illustrated, there's a great piece by Rick Reilly in his column the Life of Reilly. He writes about how he heard from a truck driver named Mike Lemke who nominated his 19 year old son Cory for Faces in the Crowd. Cory had died in a motorcycle accident recently.

Colts coach Tony Dungy, whose own son died three days before Christmas in 2005 by hanging himself, called Mark up. They struck up a phone and email correspondence to support each other and Mark was in the stands when the Colts went to the Super Bowl, courtesy of Dungy.

It appears, moreover, that since his son's death, Tony Dungy has struck up a number of friendships such as this with others who have lost loved ones - fathers, a young kid who lost both parents in a car wreck, etc.

"I'm awfully grateful to Tony Dungy," says Lemke, who , like the coach, lost his son. "He helped me keep my faith. He taught me that he and I - we're not alone."

So many people grieve alone. I get emails from folks who suffer terribly after losing a loved one . What a great reminder this is that by reaching out to others, we can enrich their lives and our own as we journey through such experiences.


Penny L. Richards said...

Dungy is part of a long tradition.

Harriet Beecher Stowe often received letters from mothers who had lost children (as she had: her son Henry drowned while he was a college student, and her baby boy Charlie died from cholera), and she considered that correspondence a duty of shared maternal sorrow. Pastoral impulses may have come naturally to her: her father and all seven brothers were ordained ministers.

Folks who are interested can read more about all this in Joan D. Hedrick, "'Peaceable Fruits': The Ministry of Harriet Beecher Stowe," American Quarterly 40(3)(September 1988): 307-332.

Ruth said...

Thanks Penny. After googling, I noticed that Joan Hedrick wrote a biography about Harriet Beecher Stowe as well that won a Pulitzer prize.