2016 August 5

What to Do? What to Say?


Hamlet contemplates the skull of Yorick

This was originally a comment to the previous post, but I thought it was worth repeating.

I continue to be deeply moved by the volume of support via email, website comments, letters, phone calls, and visits. Occasionally, someone apologizes for taking a long time to respond or not knowing what to say. But there's no need for any apology.

It is indeed difficult to know what to say about such a random, crazy happening. I'm trying to be as open as possible, both because I believe in truthfulness in general and because mystery makes things more awkward. (“What's going on with Elliot?” “I don't know—should we ignore it?” etc.)

(There are exceptions, of course. I was playing in a bridge tournament last night, and someone I don't know greeted us with a generic “How're you doing?” I decided a simple “Fine, thanks.” was better than “Dying of cancer, thanks.”)

My other guiding principle is to remember that everyone responds differently to situations like this. Some people will cry, others will be cheerleaders, and still others will be silent because they don't know how to react. All these responses, and many others I haven't mentioned, are fine with me. I want everyone to be honest. I know my family, friends, and colleagues—you are all wonderful, supportive people. So I don't care how that is expressed. I'm just grateful to have you in my life.

[Bonus points to any theater fans who heard M. Thénardier from Les Misérables singing the title of this post. And of course for recognizing Hamlet in the picture.]