Wednesday, February 25, 2009


They keep coming. Here's one from 619***6903:

Kaiya's tests came back normal!!! Thanks for the prayers! Love you all!


I haven't checked my blogger email in nearly a year, but this morning I read an article about Leonard Cohen's new tour. Some of you may remember that I had a brief Cohen encounter back in October of 07, and so I logged into my email to read what he'd said again and get that small thrill that comes from seeing a celebrity's name in your inbox.

Scrolling through my unread email, most of which was junk, I noticed a few notes from strangers who had stumbled on my blog, all of whom were incredibly supportive (even if they all didn't necessarily agree with my strong opinions on Charles Baxter). Shay, Josephine, Kathryn, Ryan, Elle, Matt, and Bill - thank you for reading and taking the time to write. It's incredibly moving to know that in some small way we are connected.

I also received emails from four women who lost their brothers, too. Sarah, Lisa, Kelly, Julia. I'm so sorry for your loss. Your emails reminded me that even as my raw wound knots into a scar, that there are people living through their own July 5ths everyday. There are people, right now, in tremendous pain. I am thinking about you.

Lastly, I'd like to catch you up on one of the most suprising changes I've noticed in myself over the past year and a half. I have, somehow, become a spiritual person. This may seem unremarkable to most, but I have been a staunch athiest for most of my 27 years - the kind who gesuhdneit's instead of blesses you when you sneeze. It's only since Kyle's death that I've felt an increasingly strengthening need to pray. Not to God, whom I still can't convince myself of, but to something. To connectedness. To internal peace. To compassion. I haven't really figured this out yet. I am a spiritual baby. I've haven't gotten much farther than Sanskrit chanting in yoga class and a growing obsession with Krista Tippett. But I understand now that there are broken parts of me that will not be fixed by new boots or a new job or even a new family. Just give me the blood, Eli. I need help in this life.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Remember my mother's obsession with Snowball? Well, I've developed an obsession of my own. Maybe you've seen this video - it's got 5.5 million hits on Youtube and a million since yesterday (at least a dozen from me) - but I'm posting it here because its the perfect antidote to a depressing anniversary.

How cute is Madagascar??

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

One Year Down

The first anniversary of Kyle's death was sometime last weekend. Depending on your definition of "death," he passed on the 5th or the 7th, but when I think about it I start on the 4th, Independence Day, red and white and smelling like grill smoke. Kyle and his friends took a train to the beach for what I think was a concert and stayed overnight. It was the next day, the 5th, around 7 pm, when he fell. I'm not clear on the details. They've been explained to me many times, but in my mind the moving train, the ascending ladder, the platform, the pool of blood, and my brother are a sickly blur. He hit his head, his brain died, and if you believe that life has to do with personality and consciousness, then that's when he died.

They brought his body to the hospital and put it on life support. By the time I arrived midday on the 6th, I was told that he still looked alive, like he was in a coma. Like there might be some hope, when of course there wasn't.

At first, I didn't want to see him. He had hit his head. What if I didn't recognize him? Or couldn't look at him? Or got sick? Or fainted? But by the time I got to him he'd been cleaned up. One side of his face was bandaged, and the other looked just like it always had. His eye was open a bit and it was like if I stared in hard enough, I could get a message through. His hands were warm and a little swollen. His skin was so soft - like mine and my mom's - and he had beautiful wrists. He was all beautiful, even banged up. Dead.

They harvested his organs shortly after midnight on the morning of the 7th. If you believe life has to do with the body - blood and breathing and a beating heart - then that's when he died.

A few nights ago, I watched a new reality show called Hopkins. It follows the staff of John Hopkins Hospital around while they perform miracles and fight with their spouses. It's a good show, but on this particular episode a donor body was being harvested and teams of surgeons and nurses with flashing tools and disturbingly mundane coolers were swarming the hospital bed. I closed my eyes, but in the breathless second before I realized that that's what they did to Kyle. They swarmed him - shouting, messy, efficient - sliced his parts, and sewed him up lighter than before.

So those are the dates. Melancholy fireworks on through the 7th. There's also the 13th - the day we buried him and the day he was born. Plenty to pick from if you're looking for an anniversary. His last trip, his last train ride, his last thought, his last breath, his last moments above ground.

I miss you. Rest in peace.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bad Blogger


I owe you an apology. I just disappeared, with no warning or goodbye. I haven't responded to your emails. I left important milestones - Ky's birthday (April 13), my graduation (I have a Masters now, albeit in fiction) and the selection of the first black man as the Democratic nominee (!) - unaddressed. How rude.

And I don't even have a good excuse. I got busy with school and teaching, I began using my free time to write fiction again, I had family in and out of town, but most of all I was avoiding. I think avoidance might've been a new step for me in this whole grief thing. As time has went on, Kyle's death actually became harder, not easier, to think about. I didn't want to talk about it. I didn't want to blog about it. I didn't want to read my mother's blog about it. My mom sent me two beautifully framed pictures of Ky, and they sat wrapped in plastic on my couch for weeks before I even looked at them. The whole thing was just too much to deal with on a daily basis if I also wanted to get my papers graded or my manuscript ready for class. So I didn't.

But recently, I forced myself to hang up one of Ky's pictures. I almost took it right down - I could barely look at it for the first week without tearing up - but it seemed right to leave it there. And today, I forced myself to login to Blogger for the first time in months. So maybe I'm past avoidance. Maybe I'm on to something new.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I Heart Derrick

J's dad sent this. It's called Interviewer Picks the Wrong Obama Supporter to Try to Railroad, and it's absolutely amazing.

Viva Obama! Viva!