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What Good Grief Looks Like When a Daughter Dies
What Good Grief Looks Like When a Daughter Dies

The phone rang late Wednesday night near the beginning of the New Year, January 11, 2012. It was Sarangan Sankar, Christy's boyfriend. He was barely intelligible because he was crying so much. He had just been on the phone with the Durham, North Carolina, police who had cordoned off Christy's home. The words he spoke were, "Christy is gone. She was found dead in the house. Christy has passed away."

I was desperate for more information. But Sara was in Philadelphia trying to board a plane for Durham, so I had to let him go. He didn't know any more at that point anyway, and it would have been unkind to press him for details. What did details matter if the fact was certain? Christy was dead.

I hollered to Ann, my wife, who was downstairs in our Lexington, Kentucky, home. Suddenly we were hugging each other for dear life. Ann kept saying, "I knew! In my heart, I knew!"

Since Monday she had been carrying around a premonition that something was wrong. On that day, she listened to a voicemail from Christy's boss at IBM, Paul Haberman, who said Christy had left a message for him saying she wasn't feeling well. Attempts to call her had failed. That wasn't terribly unusual, but worries arise when you know your child is home alone.

Later we learned that Sara had talked to Christy Monday night, and she had seemed fine then. But she did not show up for the weekly Tuesday night board game party that she so enjoyed. By Wednesday, Sara was worried and asked a close friend to break into the house if necessary. James climbed in through a window. He found Christy lying on the floor upstairs and called 911, but he knew she was gone. Sara arrived at midnight, but he wasn't allowed in the house, a potential crime scene. All he could do was stand ...

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April 2012

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