Monday, November 29, 2010

Uncle Terry

I didn't mean to start a blog about death and grieving, but 2010 had its own plans for me. My favorite uncle, Terry ("Sweat), died on November 17.

Terry did not have children or a spouse, but I think it's safe to say he will be remembered fondly by many. Here's why:
  1. His laugh melted a room.
  2. He loved babies.
  3. He sold weed.
  4. He once shit in somebody's lunchbox to prove a point.
  5. He gave heartfelt hugs and kisses.
  6. He wore a purple T-shirt with orange shorts and didn't give a fuck.
  7. He called on your birthday.
  8. He would give you anything he had.
  9. He could slap you on the ass and tell you you were getting fat without hurting your feelings.
  10. He took in stray cats.
  11. He never, ever, EVER worried about cleaning his house.
  12. Kids adored him.
  13. He was fun and funny and ornery and kind.
There aren't many people I love more than I loved Terry. My world is emptier without him, but I am so lucky he was in it at all.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Have you ever ridden the Scrambler at the fair? As the ride begins, I always hang onto the bar, keeping myself relatively still in my seat. This strategy works for several seconds as the ride picks up speed. For a while, it seems as if you have some control over your experience. Then the centrifugal force becomes more intense. Your butt starts to slide. You may maintain your grip, but everyone's body is inevitably mashed together against the outer wall of the car.

While considerably less fun than the Scrambler, this has been my experience with death in the family. We lost both my father and my grandmother this year. We planned funerals and wrote obituaries. We've sorted through their paperwork and clothes and jewelry and tools and housewares and even groceries. (What do you do with a dead man's flour? Throw it away? Give it away? Make a cake?) It all began as a series of tasks to be completed, some kind of grip we could maintain on the bar. Now we are slipping.

As my relatives and I succumb to the force that pushes us out of our seats and away from our center, I accept the fact that this is just something we are riding. We are not operating the controls. We don't know how long it will all last. Despite the breakneck unpredictability of life and death and grief, I am finding a lot of comfort in the people who will stay beside me and let me crash upon their shoulders. I am glad I am not alone. And I'm glad they will love me no matter what--even if I barf.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Still Dead

My dad died of a heart attack in February. He was 56.

After four months of crying, going through his things, preparing to sell his house, and trying to comprehend a world without him, I am amazed at the continuing presence of his absence. Somehow I just can't make myself know that he's gone. Every day I catch myself thinking, "Really? Still?"

Yeah. Still.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I vividly remember the first time I heard about a blog. Two of our friends had recently gotten a divorce at a young age, and the husband had started a blog to process his feelings. All of his anger and torment were there on the page, available to any curious gawker who wanted to see into his soul. My friends and I were horrified. "Who would ever want to make a journal public? And who would want to read it?" Apparently the answer to both questions is: everyone.

Never one to jump on a bandwagon, I've given the rest of you ten or fifteen years to work out the kinks. You've done a great job of making the medium funny, personal, interactive, and easy. You've documented your likes and your lives. You even figured out how to upload pictures!

Although I am hopelessly behind the curve, I am pretty sure this will be the blog that changes the face of the internet.