Did you say, Father’s day?

Last Monday, I wasn’t feeling great, so I asked a good friend of mine to come over and give me company, which he promptly did. Yes, this may be uncommon in this part of the world, but both he and I hail from cultures where this is done.

When he returned home, a few hours later, there was a police car waiting for him in front of his house. Three visibly shaken cops were there to announce to him that his 28-year old daughter (who lived out of town) had taken her own life. Like many people who are suffering, she did not share the pain she was living with. Her death came as a total shock to her family and friends.

During her father’s tenure as university president he had tried to comfort several families of students who had taken their own lives. He often told me that it was the most difficult part of his job. Now, he and his entire family are coping with that same reality.

And as if this is not heart-shattering enough, as soon as I announced the horrible news on behalf of the family, I started learning that these tragedies are not as rare as one might think. Shocking was the number of friends and colleagues, who came forward since, to say that they also had gone through such a tragedy: a son, a daughter, a sister-in-law, a friend. Like my friend’s daughter, many of those who were suffering did not share the pain they were living with.

On this Father’s day, we all need to take pause to think about the many young people out there, who may also be struggling.

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2 Responses to Did you say, Father’s day?

  1. Craig says:

    Dr. Ghoussoub, I read this posting this morning and have revisited it in my mind throughout the day. I’m truly sorry for your friend’s loss of his daughter. Indeed too often students and staff suffer through dark days alone. I’m so glad you have the kind of friends who will adjust their lives to spend the day with you if needed. So many are lacking these kinds of friendships! As I am a person of prayer, I have been praying for you, your friend’s family, and for our UBC campus community today. Thank you for sharing this timely and heartfelt post!

  2. Philip Hultin says:

    All of us in the University have to be aware that our students are more than just bums in seats. We can’t be all things to them, but when a student sends out a call for help we have to respond. I have had a couple of instances of this kind in the 24 years I have been a university professor, which fortunately ended well. I can’t imagine what it would have meant if one of these students had carried through.
    Colleagues, you don’t have to be the one providing help, but you do have to know how the student can get help. These are real problems that need real assistance, so don’t feel you have to give the student all the answers – you can’t. But you may be able to help them get through a rough patch and then get them the help they need.

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