Differences of Opinions

I think that I have discovered a newer and easier way to blog. I just wait for someone to contact me, I respond, and then post it here. : ) In all seriousness though, some things strike a chord with me. If one person is reaching out and saying it, I feel that there are likely others thinking or wondering about it.

In response to one of my latests posts where I list 10 things that I have learned since Dave died, someone left me a message respectfully disagreeing with something that I said. She and her family suffered an unimaginable loss, and she wanted to share their point of view. She also says, in their experience, that “one day at a time” was irrelevant. Here is my response…

although i have rarely (maybe never) responded to any comments since dave died, i felt a need to come in and respond to yours. first of all, i am so sorry for your loss. i cannot begin to imagine that kind of loss. my heart aches for all of you. the “one day at a time” mantra was one that my husband said directly to all of us but used as his parting words to our son. so while i agree that sometimes it is far less than one day at a time, i find comfort in those words.

next, i would like to respectfully say that you are free to disagree with anything that i have written. you see, these are 10 things that I have learned. these are 10 things that are true for me. i would not presume that my truths are anyone else’s. though we all suffered the loss of the same incredible man, my children, dave’s parents, brother, and sister are not walking the same path or sharing the same grief. it is unique to each person. i imagine there are some common themes that resonate with people but i certainly wouldn’t think for a minute that these things are true for anyone else but me.

yes, there have been people who have been misguided or clumsy with their comments. but, for me, that is still better than silence. there have been one or two people who have crossed an imaginary line of thoughtlessness and i find that i don’t really have the energy or interest in investing any more time into those relationships. but for the most part, a well-intentioned comment that is ill phrased at least means they are trying to show they care. luckily these are the minority. thus the it is “almost” impossible to say the wrong thing. but again, this is my truth. i can completely understand why it is not so for you.

i am sending you a big hug!


ps thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts. i appreciated hearing your point of view.


After reading both her message and my response, a longtime friend privately messaged me. She was a little irked that someone would take Dave’s last words and disagree with them. Here is my response to her….

i was taken aback at her using dave’s words so dismissively. saying they weren’t relevant or something to that effect. the first time i read her message i had a bit of a “screw you” mentality. but then i went back and read it again and realized that she is obviously still suffering over her loss. enough to write about it on the blog of a complete stranger. she needs to feel right in her response. and she isn’t wrong. but neither am i. i needed her to understand that my lessons learned really weren’t for her…

In the end, I appreciated hearing from both of these women. It was good to think through some of these ideas.



28 thoughts on “Differences of Opinions

  1. Robyn,
    You keep on doing what you are doing. Not one of us can say for certain how we would respond to a loss of someone close to us. How we respond is our own way of dealing with that loss. There is no handbook/guidebook to this. Your posts are heartfelt and they are how you choose to deal with this. We are all here for you when you need us.


  2. I feel very privledged to read this blog. What you write here is a gift for you, your family, and Dave. Your thoughtfulness in what you write and how you respond is a lesson in how we should treat others and ourselves.

  3. I am horrified that what I wrote and intended for comfort and compassion was improperly written and in any way caused you any amount of distress. I am so very, very sorry. Please know I would never, ever intend to add to the burdens you are carrying. My refencing the “cat lady” was meant to bring a smile to your lips, even if so slight. Kim and I remember that remark and laugh, but I forget we are looking back 3 1/2 years to see that humor. I had no idea “one day at a time” was said by your precious husband. The chaplain from the police department said those words to me that dreadful morning and I just remember thinking “a day”? I’m fearing how I will draw my next breath, I can’t even think of surviving this whole day. Again, I apologize and have learned a valuable lesson that my written words reflect no facial expressions or tone of voice! Please, please forgive me and know I am praying daily for you and never meant to cause you even a moment of distress!

  4. janet, no harm done! i appreciated you giving me your point of view. we have both gone through different experiences and of course are going to have different reactions. i did bristle at first to the “one day at a time” comment but then i reread your message. and now i know even more about where that comes from. thank you for responding and having this conversation with me. truly no distress caused.

  5. I don’t want to sound like a cliche, but here goes. Everyone reacts to grief differently. Your truth is YOUR truth. You will have good days and bad days, even good moments and bad moments. Eventually, you will settle in to your new “normal”. You will be fine, your kids will be fine. You are doing everything possible to ensure that they will be fine. I have been SO impressed with how you have helped your kids cope and I fervently hope that you will continue to heal. Believe me, I know that it is hard. When I was 10 years old, my older sister committed suicide. I remember the bone deep sorrow and disbelief that invaded my soul when she died. That moment of loss has affected everything in my life since then. My reactions (good and bad) can be traced back to that dark period. Eventually, I emerged from the fog – it wasn’t easy and occasionally the fog will descend again. I have experienced many losses over the years – my mother, my stepbrother, my in-laws, etc. Coping with grief is never easy. But, it DOES help to know that people care. You have many, many people who care about you and your family – that caring will give you the strength to carry on. I haven’t lost a spouse, but I understand loss in the most profound way. I am here if you need anything. I CARE and I am sending all my love (and hugs) your way.

  6. Since Dave’s passing I’ve been reading your blog. Dave was my AP at Falls Church and I also had known him from Glasgow. I told him many times that he was the best person I had ever worked with. He never said an untrue thing and always, always came through on anything he promised. He was extraordinary! And it’s so clear from your blog that you are too 🙂 Many people are thinking of you and your family at this difficult time. Grief doesn’t have a timetable and neither do kind words and understanding. All the very best!!

  7. I found your blog a while ago from reading your sister in law’s post. I’ve wanted to write to you ever since but felt like it was odd for me to do so since we’ve never met. I come here daily to read more of your journey and to hear your perspective. Thank you for sharing your heart during this horrible time in your life. Even in your unimaginable grief, you are a testimony to others. Praying for comfort for you and your amazing kids.

  8. Grief is unique to each person. What a powerful statement. I am so impressed that you continue to share your journey so articulately….and that so many well-intended people are reaching out to you and your family. I keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers each day.

  9. I am constantly amazed at your level of respect and forgiveness when you are at your most vulnerable as you continue to share your journey. It is a lesson to us all. I recently heard someone promoting to think the best of people and their intentions. You show that in your words and reactions and I am humbled to try to incorporate that into my every day life. You and your family are always in my thoughts and prayers.

  10. Mrs. Tremaine
    I just wanted to bring you up to date on what Diana & I have been doing. We recently met with all the state representatives , including Don Beyer who is running for Jim Moran’s seat in the 8th district. They have enthusiastically endorsed / signed the petition and have offered to help with it in the future. In addition. Tammy Kaufax, the new chairman of the fcps board, has been quite supportive . She wrote to Diana that she has to do some research on the proposal and told us how much she loved Mr. Tremaine . Of course it is not just up to her , as you know there is currently a regulation prohibiting the renaming of a school that is still ‘functional.’ I wrote to the board myself about what it would mean to change the school’s name . Namely, this would recognize the transformative change that Mr.Tremaine was able to bring about at Hayfield. He was unique in his ability to reach students on their own level, to give them a sense of belonging and importance . And to demonstrate a true model of grace & courage in the personal battle he was waging. This is why we all feel he should be recognized in this way .
    From everything I have read about you you are a remarkable & courageous person in your own right. No one can know what you have been through, so advice to ‘move on’ and the like is unwarrented-no matter the intentions. Many times I have found that people say things in an attempt to make themselves feel better. Honestly, they can’t deal with it.
    Your kids are very lucky to have you as their mother- and to have had Mr. T. as the incredible father I’m sure he was.
    I also feel fortunate to have Diana ; she has always had the ability to get outside herself in a very giving way that others have told me about. . So it is gratifying .. I hope some time your kids can meet her, even just to see her skate!
    Thinking of you and your family..

    • wow! this is amazing news! thank you for keeping me in the loop of what is going on!! i posted the link to the petition here hoping it would get a few more signatures. dave said that she was a great kid and i can see that for myself! we would love to meet you guys and definitely would love to see her skate.

      hugs to you both.

  11. Robyn, I am in awe of you. You are an incredibly kind person, and I wish our world leaders had your capacity for understanding and compassion. I have always known you to be a lot of fun and good to others, but your ability to reach out to this grandmother while you are hurting is amazing.
    I also want to mention that I love that picture of Dave in that awful orange suit. Where did you guys find such a thing? I wish I could tease him about it! Sending my love your way.

    • karen,

      i hear you know my buddy, anne. : )

      you are very kind to say such nice things.

      dave has a friend who is a big university of tennessee fan. they had an ongoing rivalry because dave was 100% a carolina gamecock fan. pj sent dave two orange suits which of course dave loved, and i think pj got a kick out of seeing him in UT colors!

      he LOVED wearing those suits and i did enough teasing for the both of us. : )

      hope to see you soon!

  12. I feel privledged that you’ve shared your journey with us thus far, as I’ve told you, your wordings really touch your heart.

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