Category Archives: Mourning



April 30, 2014

Poem #30: “S”

In a dream
a small boy visited me,
golden nimbus around his face,
lucent white skin
and lustrous eyes,
green like the Nile.

His features captivated me,
but I loved his humor the most.
His laughs were musical sounds
from another place.
He stamped smiles and danced
with pure energy,
and acted out his thoughts
for me to see.
For he didn’t speak,
yet he clearly understood my words
and appeared to delight in them.

I held my dream child close,
and he knew I would love him

He circled me with joy
and ran on airspace, laughing.
Then whispered by me,
waving his hand,
Be right back.
I called for him to stay near.
When suddenly he was felled
by some unseen collision
that took his breath.

I fell to my knees and cried
over my small angel child.
I buried my face in his whiteness
and heard unrecognizable cries
that haunt me still.
“Wake up! Please! Please! Please, wake up!
No! Oh, no. No. No…”

His glow lingered and reflected off a mist
that enveloped me and echoed my wails.
The steam wept with me for that small,
spotless, sleeping soul
dissolving in my arms—ashes.
I held nothing but myself—skin and bones.

And beside me his dust grew into a tree,
as if blown with breath
through a straw, painted on canvas.
The branches spread out and multiplied,
ready for leaves yet to come.
And in the tree’s center—its heart,
the initial, S, was engraved.
And it went up as the tree grew tall.


In memory of my Sam. My son. My beautiful boy.
March 2, 1998 – April 30, 2007

Rebecca, my friend and confidant

Depression afflicts millions directly, and millions more who are relatives or friends of victims. It has been estimated that as many as one in ten Americans will suffer from the illness…which, in its graver, clinical manifestation takes upward of twenty percent of its victims by way of suicide.

– William Styron (1990), Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness

In memory

In memory of my longtime and loving friend, Rebecca Pratt (December 24, 1964 – January 28, 2013).


R was one of the wittiest, most intelligent, caring, and beautiful people I have had the privilege of knowing. She was my friend for almost three decades. She was my confidant and sometimes my therapist. She was an incredibly thoughtful card sender. She loved searching for and sending the perfect card in which she’d write, or quote, the perfect words. And her timing was perfect. If I mentioned to her that I had finished a writing piece and felt good about it, lo and behold, a one-of-a-kind congratulatory card would show up in my mailbox 48 hours later. Continue reading

Dear Grief

My Questions…

Dear Grief,

There have been and still are times when I feel like this: I am hanging upside down in a body-sized tank of water, like Houdini, and I see and hear the world in a distorted and blurry, thick and muffled way. But at the same time I am the spectator watching the weird and surreal way in which I am seeing the world. But unlike Houdini I don’t know if I will ever escape from drowning.

In the first few years after my son’s, Sam’s, death you, Grief, were so completely overwhelming and suffocating that I felt brain damaged, paralyzed. Attempts at moving felt like I was wading through quicksand. A short walk to the mailbox was exhausting. At times driving was probably perilous, because I don’t even remember driving, or even picking up my son, Joey, at school. Sometimes writing (while lying down) was the only moving I could do. I could use only my hands and eyes, and then wait for thoughts to come from out of the sludge. My brain felt—and still feels—damaged.  Continue reading

With time, and lemons, we learn to change

Everything must change
Nothing stays the same
Everyone must change
Nothing stays the same

The young become the old
Mysteries do unfold
‘Cause that’s the way of time
Nothing and no one goes unchanged

There are not many things in life
You can be sure of
Except rain comes from the clouds
And sun lights up the sky
And hummingbirds do fly…

– Bernard Ighner, singer-songwriter-arranger-producer-multi instrumentalist


Einstein said “the only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” But on the day of my son’s sudden death everything did happen at once. Time stopped and our world collapsed. My son was gone and so I needed to go too. I lay down beside him, his sleeping body, closed my eyes, disappeared into oblivion, and slept. Time turned its face, wringed its hands and waited while we slept. But eventually, governed by deadlines, time turned back and muttered at me, “It’s time to go,” then reset itself, whirled around and went on without me. I knew then that I was dead but left among the living. Continue reading