Live blog, TEDxColumbus

Trent Tipple – Live Blog

2011 TEDxColumbus
I don’t feel entirely comfortable blogging about Trent Tipple’s talk. I’ve always wrestled with the statement ‘there’s a grief that can’t be spoken.’ Some days, I think: of course I can pick my words and punctuate them in the right order and eventually (days, months, years, however long) say or write something that captures it in full. On other days, I think: nothing I can ever pen on paper or voice aloud to a friend or a room of 600 strangers will ever capture what it was like to lose my dad. Unexpectedly, out of nowhere, he was dead. As I listen to Trent’s talk as I type this, and hear him read aloud what his young son wrote about the first time Trent collapsed while on holiday —“he was wheeled out on a gurney … hundreds of people were watching … they were driving like it was murder … later we found out he had brain cancer”–I have to admit I keep thinking about how I want Trent to give me an answer. Trent, should we keep trying to find the right story, the right words, the right way to speak about grief? Or should we step back and decide it’s never going to be within our grasp? Please tell me.


So Trent didn’t answer that question (duh, he didn’t know I asked it … in my head), but I liked what he had to say all that same and I am so very glad that he is still around.  “I hope that by hearing my story that you all realize that there have been so many people who played a significant role in your life,” I hear Trent say, “They didn’t have to, but they chose to because they cared about you.”  He asked us to identify those people, to reach out to them and let them know what they’ve meant to us. I think the continuous realization of this suggestion is a way better thing for me to focus on. And maybe that’s where the ‘there’s a grief that can’t be spoken’ idea comes from: the medical scares of our past, and the face-to-face moments in time with mortality, are what fuels our discussions. It’s the energy that keeps us going, for better and, yeah, often for way worse, but the going part is sure a damn good ride.