It's been a rough week for a lot of people close to me. It's really starting to get me down. In no particular order:
* My father-in-law is dying. This isn't new, but his condition is more or less steadily declining, and he's in the last phases now. He's a really great guy. As much as nobody deserves to have to go through something like this, it's particularly unfair in this case. It's especially hard on his wife Pat, who's doing an absolutely heroic job of keeping herself together in such a heartbreaking situation.
* To add further misery to the above situation, their dog just died. Can't let Pat catch any breaks at all now, can we? :-(
* I found out on Monday that the father of my best friend from high school/college, Donald, just lost his father on Friday. The funeral was on Monday.
* On Sunday we got e-mail from my sister and brother in law letting us know that Dylan, my nephew and godson, is very likely autistic. This has been the most on my mind this week, and I've been spending a lot of time at work reading up on autism when I really should be working. Dylan (who turns 3 in December) is a great kid, and contrary to the stereotype is quite affectionate. (He also bears an uncanny physical resemblance to me at that age.) It's pretty well known that there is a genetic predisposition to autism. Since I've wondered at times if I perhaps have Asperger's Syndrome (a very mild form of autism that usually shows up after childhood) this doesn't really surprise me. However, if it does turn out that he's autistic then I think that his chances are good. His vocabulary is well behind where it should be, but the fact that he can speak at all at his age is a very good sign that he's high functioning. More importantly, he couldn't be in a better environment. My sister and brother in law are attentive, intelligent, loving parents, my mom lives close by and loves doting on her grandsons, and his big brother Zack watches out for him too.
* Update! While I've been typing this up I found out that a close co-worker of mine's 16 year old daughter just found out that she's pregnant. He's understandably un-delighted.