The Josh Hancock Family and Grief

The Josh Hancock Family and Grief

Note: My wife Jody doesn’t post here often. This is from her.

Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.
– C. S. Lewis

On April 29, 2007, a young man made the decision to go out and drink and then get behind the wheel of his SUV and drive. He died. His name was Josh Hancock, a Major League baseball pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals. Today, his father has filed a wrongful death suit against the restaurant franchise where his son had spent some time that evening drinking, the driver of the stalled car, and the owner of the tow truck company.

A statement from Dean Hancock states: “The facts and circumstances associated with the death of my son, Josh Hancock, have caused great pain to all of Josh’s family. On May 18, 2007, I was appointed the Administrator of Josh’s estate by the Chancellor of the Lee County, Mississippi Chancery Court. As the Administrator of Josh’s estate, I have a duty to represent Josh’s family regarding all of the issues related to his death and the overall administration of his estate, including any legal actions necessary against those who contributed to the untimely and unnecessary death of my son at the age of 29. As Josh’s father, I have this same duty. Unfortunately, my duties involve pursuing legal actions against those businesses and individuals who contributed to the death of Josh.” (Source: MLB.COM)

The death of a child is no doubt a parent’s worse nightmare. I believe it is a nightmare that neither Hollywood nor the most vivid imagination can create. The pain brings you not just to your knees but into the very pit of hell. Whether that child’s death is due to disease, an accident, war, or the intentional actions of someone else, a parent will find themselves screaming in disbelief and pain. In the days that follow it is important, even vital, to find somewhere to put blame which is part of the equation that will bring reason to an un-reasonable event.

My youngest son, James, died two years and eight months ago. My oldest son, John, is a professional baseball player. Do I sympathize with Mr. Hancock? Yes. Do I empathize with Mr. Hancock? Yes. Do I agree with what he is doing? No. His actions are going to take enormous amounts energy and time. His actions are going to cause a great deal of pain to others and not relieve the excruciating pain that is ripping through his family nor is it going to heal his family. Time is the simple but difficult element that is going to bring healing. Finding a constructive way to remember their son and reach out to others is healthy and brings new life into the hole that was once occupied by the one that you loved more than your own life. What a voice of truth would be heard loud and clear to encourage other players, and boys who look at these players as role models, not to drink and drive!

C.S. Lewis was wrong about a key point. I don’t have to live each endless day in grief. I live each day with the grief that James and I are separated for now. I can live – and so will James.

Here is a link to one of the ways that our family found to remember and reach out: John Webb Winter Golf Tournament.

3 thoughts on “The Josh Hancock Family and Grief

  1. That is sooooo weird, I just got through reading that story on the SI web site and I thought about James. I love you and miss you James 🙂

    Being a parent of 3 beautiful children, I can’t even IMAGINE what they must be going through. I will never understand why people feel the need to always place blame when something tragic like that happens. I mean come on, getting involved in a law suit because your car stalled and you were getting it towed!

    NOT REALLY—- but why don’t someone sue the father because maybe just maybe he was a bad father and there were some family issues so thats why his son chose to drink!!! Does that sound ridiculous..well my point exactly.

    Why do we always think that by hurting someone else that it will some how ease our pain and make everything better? If there is one thing I have learned it is this: FORGIVENESS is the ultimate healing.

  2. It’s an insult to anyone ever victimized by a drunk driver that the Cardinals are honoring Josh Hancock by wearing a black number 32 on their uniforms. They should be wearing a MADD patch instead.

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