How do people come to work and function normally when a family member – particularly a child – has a life-threatening illness? In this powerful video, Comedian Anthony Griffith talks about a time in his life when his work success was peaking, but at the same time, he suffered an incalculable personal tragedy. In The Best of Times, The Worst of Times, he shares his emotionally charged story of how he dealt with his two-year-old daughter’s cancer.

His story depicts the terrible pressure, conflict, grief, and financial strain that a family member goes through when faced with the illness and loss of a child. It’s difficult to witness his raw pain, and to hear how he suffered. It’s a reminder to us all that we never know exactly what private burdens people carry, a good reason to give people around us the benefit of the doubt in petty conflicts.
It’s also a reminder to managers and supervisors that you can never issue reminders about an EAP too frequently. There are so many ways that a good EAP could help support a parent who is suffering such an ordeal. But day-to-day, people forget about the EAP as a resource, or underestimate the scope and range of services that may be available.
Griffith talks about how ill equipped he felt to deal with his daughter’s illness: “there’s no books, no home ed class to teach you how to deal with this” — but also how he didn’t or couldn’t reach out for much-needed help in processing and dealing with his grief: “…and you can’t go to a therapist because in the black world a therapist is taboo, that’s reserved for rich white folks.”
The cultural taboo that he speaks of can be a real one. See Why African Americans Avoid Psychotherapy and African Americans and Psychotherapy. Certainly, African Americans are not the only cultures who share this taboo… for example, Latino cultures can also be reluctant to seek out therapists. And men in general can be reluctant to seek counseling help for problems.

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