After my 15 1/2 year old son Josh was struck by a car and killed in 2002, I began to experience being on the receiving end of people’s care and compassion. Yet I also became familiar with those who did not know what to say or do. And from this I learned, when you don’t know what to do or say, DON’T DO NOTHING. Even a brief note, or email, or kind gesture is a welcome source of comfort to the person in a state of grief. I came across this poem I wrote at the cemetery, 3 years to the day after the tragic moment when Josh was hit. Maybe it will spark action for you if there comes a time when you don’t know what to do for someone who is grieving….

I Wonder What She’s Doing

She must be sad today.

I don’t know how she gets through the day.

A heart heavier, a sadness more pervasive than I can imagine.

I’m lucky it’s not me.

I won’t even go there.

I feel sorry for her.

Such a tragedy.

I can’t stop thinking about it. About her.

About her family.

I don’t even know what to say to her.

And then, a voice came to me. My other voice.

The one that starts in my heart.

And it said, “Call her.”

I reached for the phone.


  • Nancy H. Rothstein, MBA

    As The Sleep Ambassador®, sleep expert Nancy H. Rothstein is on a quest to help people live life fully 24/7. Nancy helps people rise in the MORNING and rise in the MOURNING.

    As The Sleep Ambassador® Nancy inspires a new respect for sleep and its impact on all aspects of work, life and well-being.  Through consulting, public speaking, media engagements, and other venues, she presents strategic solutions selected to empower people to make lasting shifts to optimize their sleep quality and quantity, both for the public and for the corporate world. Nancy consults and lectures to Fortune 500 corporations and other organizations, awakening leadership to the ROI of a good night’s sleep for their workforce and providing sleep education/training initiatives for employees at all levels.   Nancy's LinkedIn Learning Course, Sleep Is Your Superpower, has engaged over 300,000 seeking to improve their sleep. Nancy is the author of My Daddy Snores; published by Scholastic, which has sold over 400,000 copies. Nancy serves or served on the NIH Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board, the Steering Committee of, the Board of the Foundation for Airway Health, the Advisory Board of the Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, the American Sleep Apnea Association, and working with other organizations that foster sleep health.   Not only does Nancy help people rise in the morning, she also helps people rise in the mourning, inspiring  people to embrace life with gratitude and joy amidst its many challenges. With grace and authenticity, Nancy's forthcoming book, "Rising in the Mourning: Ways to Celebrate Life," offers insights and guidance based on her personal experience with the passing of...and reconnection with...her son. Excerpts appear on Thrive Global.     Nancy has a B.A. from The University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.