Monday, June 29, 2009

What's going on in the Unknown Family

Here's a short update on goings-on in the Unknown Household:
  • The Unknown Daughter is now done with school for the summer. I get a feeling that she'll be doing a lot of social activities this summer - since Friday (the last day of school), she's already had one sleepover (at a cousin's house), and has her second one (at our house) this Wednesday. In addition, she's just finished Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard book. She gets a real kick out of describing the plot to others - it's an unusual tale where the humans are largely the evil characters, and the supernatural ones (ghosts, vampires, werewolves, etc) are the good guys. Next on the agenda is Madeiline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time (she just finished the 6th Harry Potter book, and is looking for some variety before tackling the 7th). All in all, not bad for someone who just finished 2nd grade.
  • The Unknown Baby is now starting to make sounds - a LOT of sounds. So, he's become the star of any family gathering (he was anyway, but now that he's "talking" and laughing, we pretty much get a complete pass on having to take care of him at any event with others around --our rule is that to hold him, you have to do the associated diaper change). More importantly, he's now sleeping more that 6 hours at a pop at night. So, we give him his last feeding between 11 and 12, and don't hear from him until about 6.
  • We've been doing a lot of social things - my sister and law and brother run a golf tournament to raise funds for cancer research (they lost their son to Neuroblastoma a couple of years ago). While we missed the tournament this year, we did make it up for the kid's mini-golf event this past weekend. In addition, the Unknown Wife is hosting her women's bible study group this morning, so the house will shortly be filled with about ten women. Finally, we'll be traveling to West Virginia shortly for a family reunion over the 4th of July weekend.
I continue to work on various research projects. I am finishing up one paper, and thought I only had a bit more to do. Then I decided to update our sample to include the most recent year of data. Unfortunately, as I worked through the program I'd written, I realized that I would also have to update two other datasets that the paper uses. One week, many lines of SAS code, and much profanity later, I'm almost done with the "simple" job that I thought would take only a day or two. So hang on, my coauthors - I'm almost done. Once this part is done, I move on to another piece, which is also in the final stages - once I finish my small part on this paper, we can put all the work we've already done since the initial version together and do the rewrite. My guess is that it'll be at the submittable stage before long. And then, once a third coauthor sends me the data set I need, I can do a bit of analysis on a third paper, which is also nearing completion.

As for the 500 pound gorilla in the room - we're coping fairly well with the whole grieving process. Of course, it's different for the Unknown Wife and I (hey - the process is different for any two people). For me, it's toughest at night (in the time just before sleep)- for the majority of the day, I don't think about it much, except for the odd moments when I see/hear something that reminds me of the little guy. For her, it occurs more frequently, mostly because she's at home most of the day, where she sees more reminders. We each have different "therapies" - for me, I think about Jonathan on bike rides (almost 17 miles yesterday), and for the Unknown wife, it involves talking about him with friends and family.

But, the sharpest part of the grief has largely passed. For now, it only hits us on occasion, and even then not to badly. It's a lot easier knowing that (1), this is not the end of Jonathan's life (but only the end of this part of his life), and (2), he's not only pain-free, but extremely happy now.

But the human psyche has an amazing capacity for dealing with pain and grief - we're an amazing species that way.

As I said, the Unknown Wife is hosting her ladies group shortly -- As I write, three women have already arrived. So, before I succumb to Estrogen overdose (and start watching the Lifetime channel), I'd better bolt.