Dec 4 2014
The depression creeps up on me every December. I should recognize the signs by now; it’s been almost 12 years since it happened. Yet each year I am startled to discover the source of my sadness, and how fresh the grief feels on my brother’s yahrzeit (the anniversary of a person’s death). A raw ache, a wordless, gut-clenching feeling, envelops me each year, and it’s as if no time has passed.
My brother Avi died suddenly in his sleep at age 26. I still remember the exact moment when I found out. I had a few unusual minutes of quiet as my 2-year-old twins were occupied, and I jumped on the treadmill. My husband took the early morning call and handed me the phone with a stunned look. In a single instant, my world was irrevocably changed. Life would now be divided into the before and after of this awful event. My parents, my other two brothers, and I would forever carry this deep wound, and the well of hurt, regret, and a trail of “what ifs” along with it.
We all busied ourselves with the duties of new mourners: notifying others, arranging a service, and preparing the house for shiva. I felt strongly that my boys should not travel with us to the funeral; I didn’t want to expose them to a sadness and devastation they couldn’t understand. And I didn’t want them to see their mother fall apart. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 15 2014
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Over the years, many of our writers have written poignantly about the heartrending experience of losing a child or pregnancy. For those who have experienced that pain, we hope these stories will resonate, provide comfort, and offer helpful suggestions for processing the loss. For those who haven’t, this might help you comfort a friend who has.
Here is a roundup of the most relevant articles from Kveller and our friends at Modern Loss about pregnancy and infant loss:
1. 17 Things to Say to Someone Who’s Lost a Child. It’s hard to know what to say to a friend who is mourning the loss of a child or potential child. A dad who has unfortunately found himself on both sides of the conversation offers some guidelines and suggestions. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 14 2014
Last October, I wrote about how devastated I was to learn of a dear friend’s pregnancy-associated breast cancer diagnosis. I wrote in order to spread awareness of a rare disease and to honor her fight. This month–Breast Cancer Awareness Month–I write again about my friend. To again spread awareness, but now to honor her memory.
At the end of July, my friend’s husband had to tell their daughters–4 and not quite 2–that their mom wasn’t coming home again. She was a week shy of her 36th birthday. Despite nine rounds of chemo, the cancer had spread to her brain and spinal fluid. She’d been diagnosed only 10 months earlier.
I think of my friend daily. We knew each other for only four years, but we got together every other week for most of that time. It’s hard not to go to the places we frequented and not expect her to walk up. I see her sitting in my basement while our kids play together. I see her at my side as we sweated through a Stroller Strides class. I see her in my dining room during my daughter’s birthday party. I see her getting into her car and pulling away from my house for the last time. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 15 2014
A bronze statue of British R&B and soul sensation Amy Winehouse, who died from alcohol poisoning three years ago, was unveiled in Camden Sunday, on what would have been the singer’s 31st birthday.
Designed by artist Scott Eaton, the statue of Amy has a star of David draped around her neck and a live rose perched in her signature beehive.
The unveiling took place in front of her parents, family, and fans who came out by the hundreds to pay tribute. As the statue was unveiled, Amy’s father Mitch Winehouse, who lobbied for its erection, planted a kiss on his daughter’s cheek, reports the Guardian: Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 11 2014
On October 31st, 2012, I awoke to a phone call from my sister. “I think I’m going to have a baby today. Maybe baby!” I pretended to be calm and collected and told her I would be right over. She only lives five minutes down the road.
When I got to my sister’s house, her curly-headed 2-year-old Rachie greeted me at the door with a big grin. My sister was trying to stifle her own excitement, knowing that while she had been having steady contractions since 3 a.m., birthing is unpredictable–it could be an hour or a day. As we watched television, she wiggled around on the birthing ball, shifting positions, walking around, breathing deeply as her contractions rose and fell. I was mesmerized. This woman before me, sister of my blood, seemed elevated with grace and knowing even in the throes of her primal ache. What a great laborer, I thought to myself enviously. I wish I could do that.
When it was almost noon, we noticed that the contractions were coming a bit less frequently than the morning. “When they get back from the store, Rachie will nurse,” my sister said confidently. “That will get the contractions going again.” Sure enough, the arrival of her big girl sent strong clenches through her uterus as we awaited the midwife. Not just any midwife, but the woman who had gently steered and caught my son and both my sister’s older children. Read the rest of this entry →
My son Dalen is a worrier. He worries about big things like mass extinction and little things like being late for school and not wearing the right color clothes for Spirit Day. When his mind begins to spin and his fingers begin to twist, I think of myself at that age.
I was an anxious kid. I worried about thunderstorms and math tests and lingering coughs. But more than anything, I worried about death. I was obsessed with it, in fact. Every time my parents were 10 minutes late to pick me up (always) I imagined them buried under a monstrous tractor trailer. When my little brother started going out with his friends, I stayed up and waited for him long after my parents had gone to bed. And when my dad complained of chest discomfort, I didn’t sleep for a month.
Death lurked behind every doorway, sneaked in through every crack in the ceiling, crawled under the floor, slithered into my daydreams, and lingered long into the night. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 9 2014
Oh, Joan. The reason we love her so much is because she was never afraid to blurt out what we all were thinking–especially when it came to motherhood, childbirth, and all things vaginal.
So it was only appropriate that Howard Stern deliver a quintessentially Joan-esque eulogy at her star-studded funeral at Temple Emanu-el on the Upper East Side of Manhattan this past Sunday.
On her website, comedian Margaret Cho, who was at the funeral, described what happened after Howard’s opening line, “Joan had a dry pussy.” Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 4 2014
We are so sad to learn that Joan Rivers has died at 81 today, from complications related to throat surgery.
RIP, Joan Rivers, and thank you for making us laugh for all these years. You will be missed.
Read more about Rivers’ impressive career here, and share your favorite Joan moments in the comments below.
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Aug 19 2014
I have worked with retired “senior” adults for many years. The other day a woman I had never met came in sobbing about the loss of her mother over a year ago. This was not the first time I have been surprised by the intensity of grief experienced by an older woman over the death of a very, very old mother.
But it did pose the question: Can you be too close to your mother?
A few weeks ago, the same thing happened with another woman in my office. Years earlier, someone else told me she had never married or fulfilled her potential because her mother insisted that she take care of her until she died. I recall a man who slept on the floor next to his old mother’s bed in case she needed immediate attention during the night. She lived a long life and by the time he got up off that floor, he didn’t have much else. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 14 2014
Larry David is coming to Broadway!
David plans to star in a comedic play he wrote about death and mourning–something only Larry David could pull off. Initially titled “Shiva” but renamed “Fish in the Dark,” Larry says the show was inspired by the death of his friend’s father.
David told The New York Times that he will be playing “somebody very similar to Larry David–it might even be Larry David with a different name.” Read the rest of this entry →