Hats Off

Download Feb 11 114When we left the church to drive to the cemetery after our son died, I remember looking out of the car window wondering what bystanders might be thinking about this funeral procession. We passed a construction site, and I noticed all of the workers stopped their work, took off their hardhats and put them over their hearts while we drove by.

Many grieving folks report to me their surprise about what they remember and don’t remember in the days after a death. This was such a brief moment in our time of loss but one that has stuck with me through the decades. Their respect honored our son and us. I felt deep gratitude for these strangers in that moment of this very painful drive. They did not know our story, but they did what they knew to do. And by their kind act, they became part of my story.

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Dr. Patrick O’Malley is a psychotherapist in Fort Worth, Texas, specializing in grief counseling. For 35 years, he has counseled individuals, couples and families in his private practice. Dr. O'Malley has recently published a book, "Getting Grief Right" about grief recovery.

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