Last Cup

Two months ago the covers tugged a bit and I looked over at Kim as she sat on the edge of the bed.

“Good Morning Kimmy.”

“Morning honey,” she said and she lifted her hands above her head in a big stretch that she did every morning before standing up.

She got out of bed and turned to straighten the covers behind her like she always did.

She had no idea it would be the last time she would ever do it. Even if she knew she would never come back to that bed she still would have taken the time to straighten things up before she left.

She headed to the bathroom.

The dog flopped back down. It wasn’t time yet.

The toilet flushed. Kim wandered back into the room.

“Do you want coffee?” she asked.

“Yes please,” I answered, “I can make it.”

“That’s ok, honey,” she said.

She asked me every morning and every morning I said yes. I didn’t offer to make it every morning. She always said “no”. She made better coffee than I. I have no idea how or why.

Every once in a while I would beat her out of bed to let the dog out. Then I would tell her I’d make the coffee. If she was really tired she’d let me and lay back in bed. Otherwise she’d say, “that’s ok, honey. I’ll be down in a minute. I’ll make it.”

If we’d known two months ago today that that morning’s coffee would be our last, would we have done anything differently?

I don’t think so.

I handed her the beans and she scooped out two scoops in her blue scoop that she kept in the utensil drawer just for this purpose. She’d always used this scoop to measure out the beans for coffee. Somehow when I used the same scoop the coffee wasn’t as good as hers. I have no idea why.

She ground the beans in the grinder I’d bought after Elena died. The water in the coffee pot on the stove began to boil. She attached the top half and poured in the ground beans and set the timer to four minutes.

I went to the living room and started to check my email.

She wandered over and I told her about someone we’d heard from who wanted us to visit.

“That sounds nice,” she said, “we should go.”

And we would have.

About three and a half minutes after starting the coffee she headed to the bathroom.

I looked up a half minute later when the timer rang. I stood up and walked to the kitchen and turned off the coffee and turned off the timer. The dog was jumping against the back door. I let her in and wiped her paws.

The dog headed to the living room to sit in her chair.

Kim was still in the bathroom.

How does she always do that, I wondered. She always wanders off just as the timer is about to ring. On the other hand, it meant that really we often made the coffee together. We had our roles. I handed her the beans and put them away and she ground them. She started the pot boiling and I took it off.

The coffee sucked back from the top of the pot back down to the bottom.

Kim got back from the bathroom and looked over.

She got her container of old grounds from under the sink. It was full.

“Be right back,” she said.

She took the container outside and dumped the grounds in the garden around her flowers.

She came back in and dumped today’s grounds into the container and placed the container back under the sink.

She looked at the mugs carefully and selected two.

She poured the coffee.

“Which one is yours?” I asked.

The mugs looked identical to me but I knew better.

“That one,” she pointed.

I sipped from my cup. “It’s good,” I said.

“Thanks,” she said.

I opened the refrigerator and handed her the half and half. She thanked me, poured some in her coffee, and handed the half and half back.

I headed back to the living room. She went to the dining room and went through her mail.

We sat in silence for a bit. Then she wandered into the living room.

We discussed the day. She was going to all three hospitals then to a wake. We talked about going out for dinner as a late celebration of our anniversary.

Just the sort of conversation you have every day – even if it’s the last conversation you’re ever going to have.

She looked at my near empty cup of coffee and asked, “do you want another cup?”

“No thanks,” I said.

I finished the last cup of coffee that Kim would ever make for me.

She put her hand out for the cup and took it to the kitchen.


Published in: on October 19, 2016 at 7:36 am  Comments (1)  

Writing Prompt

I write this blog for me.

It is my way of trying to work through everything and try to heal.

I know that other people read it – and so there are some topics I don’t write about – but mostly I write this for me.

When I write books and articles for others it’s completely different. In those cases I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m going to write and thinking about who I’m writing for and why. I may sketch out an outline – but I always have an idea of what my story arc is and what points I want to hit.

Here, it’s more like starting with a writing prompt and seeing where it goes.

The other day I woke up thinking about Kim and I wanted to reach for her.

In the morning we’d be next to each other in bed, both of us awake but neither one ready to move and I’d reach over and put my hand on her forearm.

She’d reach over with her other hand and give my hand a squeeze.

We’d just hang like that for a bit, holding hands, smiling quietly.

Then the dog would notice we were awake and she’d stand up and shake herself and walk over to the door. If we still didn’t move, Anabelle would jump up on the bed and nudge Kim into action.

So after having that memory, I opened my laptop to write about touching Kim on the arm.

Instead I ended up writing about touching her arm in exactly the same way while she lay in her hospital bed.

I hadn’t consciously made the connection. I didn’t understand where that story came from and why I told it.

I started with the simple writing prompt of my hand on Kim’s arm and ended up in her hospital room instead of our bedroom.

Honestly, I hadn’t intended to tell this story just now.

I sat down to write about writing prompts because I received a writing prompt from the Garfield Heights Municipal Court to write a victim statement.

I’m also invited to deliver it in court but I don’t think I can.

The date is exactly two months since the last full day of Kim’s life.

I am invited to write or appear to address four issues. The first is “The effects of the crime upon you”.

I talked to Maggie about this last night. I said, “I don’t know where to start, mom was everything to me.”

Maggie said, “start there.”

So I’ll start there. I don’t know where to end.

It feels endless.

So I have this writing prompt: “The effects of the crime upon you”.


Published in: on October 16, 2016 at 9:21 am  Comments (2)  


I’ve had trouble with the high holidays since Elena died and it hasn’t gotten any easier with Kim’s death.

How, I’ve asked before, can a six year old’s name be left out of the book of life?

And now I wonder the same thing about my Kimmy.

The world is not a better place without her. It was so much better with her.

Religious teachings are rooted in practices and traditions that help us live our daily lives as individuals and member of tribes.

Many of them are designed around big moments in life.

A great many of them are centered around death and loss.

Our views of heaven or whatever comes next are to comfort us when a loved one dies.

I’m not comforted.

Perhaps I’m just too selfish.

I don’t know what happens when we die.

Kim knew that she wanted her organs, her skin, her eyes to benefit others. She was as unselfish as can be.

She didn’t know what happens when we die but she knew she wanted others to benefit.

When Kim died, people tried to comfort me by saying “she must be needed in heaven.”

Kim would roll her eyes and sigh.

I know this because at funerals after Elena died she would do just that if the priest would say that the dead person is “in a better place.”

Kim thought there was a time to let go. If a person is in a great deal of pain or is old and ready to die, Kim thought it was selfish of us to keep them here for us.

Let them go.

That Friday morning, Kim was funny and active and too young to die.

The semi-driver changed that.

By the time we made the decision on Sunday there really was no decision to make. Kim was gone.

She had coached us that there was a time to let go.

It was time.

To leave her name out of the book a year ago? Then it wasn’t near time.

Many have told me that Kim is reunited with Elena. The two of them are together.

That’s a lovely image.

It wasn’t time for either of them.

It wasn’t time for a six year old child ten years ago.

It wasn’t time for her vibrant fifty-five year old mother two months ago.

It’s comforting to think of them reunited in heaven. It’s a reunion of mother and child. It’s Kim sitting down to Sunday dinner with her grandparents.

I assume that if you can find your loved ones in heaven, you can eat pasta with them.

It’s a lovely image.

Perhaps I’m just too selfish.

As lovely as the image of them together in heaven may be, I’d much rather another image.

I picture Kim and me watching Elena graduate from high school this coming June with her classmates.

Now that’s a lovely image.

Published in: on October 12, 2016 at 8:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Little Things

A friend checked in yesterday to see how I’m doing and what I’m doing.

“Little things”, I texted her back. “Little things that require little concentration.”

I roasted a pound of coffee and half a pound of decaf.

I made a 24 hour cold brew from the decaf.

Last week I mixed up a bunch of shrubs.

Earlier this year at a conference in Yosemite, one of the speakers talked about new things she was trying. She wanted to drink fancy cocktails but didn’t want to drink alcohol. So she’d been buying bitters and shrubs and using them to flavor soda water. Bitters are often intense flavors extracted in alcohol. You only add a few drops to a cup of club soda so you don’t need much. A shrub uses vinegar instead.

I bought a book and mixed up five different flavors of shrubs: cucumber, ginger, concord grape, cranberry apple, and apple pie.

The book explained that after about two weeks the flavor changes dramatically and the vinegar and sugar mix in such a way that neither is so forward. I’ve been drinking the cucumber one while I wait – I figure the vinegar flavor matters less in the savory one than the sweet one.

Every sip reminds me of my time with Kim in Yosemite. It was one of her favorite places on earth.

Yesterday, I also started a new batch of sourdough. I mixed up a rye starter and a wheat starter. It will be about a week before I can bake with either one.

If you’re not baking, you need to discard about two thirds of the starter or you’ll have gallons before the week is out.

Kim hated throwing out the unused starter. She thought it was stupid and wasteful.

I tried to explain why it would be more wasteful to keep it – you’d need three times the flour to feed it this afternoon, nine time tomorrow morning, twenty-seven tomorrow afternoon…

Treat it like feeding a pet. Feed it twice a day and discard two thirds of what is in the bowl.

I hear her exasperated sigh when I throw out the cup of starter each feeding.

It was a beautiful fall day yesterday so I made a pot of chili and had some people over for the Indians game and watched them sweep the Red Sox.

Kim would have liked that.

Twenty-some years ago we went to playoff games and even a World Series game together.

One night we fell asleep during a long Indians – Red Sox playoff game. It was 1995 and the Indians would go on to sweep the Red Sox.

At that time we had a television set in our bedroom. We didn’t have a remote – we just had a long extension cord with an on-off switch that we used to turn the tv off before going to bed.

This game started late and went long. Game one was a home game just like this year.

Kim and I fell asleep around midnight.

For some reason we both woke up about 130 and the game was still going on.

We were both awake and watching after 2 am when backup catcher Tony Pena hit the game winning home run. Pena was not a home run hitter. He ran the bases with such joy. It was the Indians first post season win in my lifetime. More than that, I just looked it up, it was the Indians first post season win since 1948.

Kim and I watched the replay over and over. Pena hit a home run every time. We weren’t just glad for the team, we were so happy for him.

Kim said, as she often said of people she only knew from tv, “he’s such a nice man.”

And last night the Indians swept the Red Sox again.

It’s funny every memory ends up back at a Kim story.

I do little things that require little concentration and my mind wanders back to my favorite little thing.



Published in: on October 11, 2016 at 8:39 am  Leave a Comment  


During the three days that Kim was in the hospital on life support, I’d walk by her bed and squeeze her foot and say, “Hi Kimmy, it’s Daniel.”

As people would walk into the room, I’d walk up to her side. I’d rub my fingers down her right arm and say, “Hi Kimmy, your brother Tommy is here.”

Through it all, her mom sat on her left side in a chair as people came and went.

Her left side was the tougher side to sit on. That was the side that showed the biggest effects of the accident. The left side of her head had been shaved. Much of the left side of her brain had been removed on impact and more of it had been removed in surgery.

The first night it was covered in a towel as the nursing staff tried to make it easier on us to be there with her. By the next day there was little visible blood.

While people visited I would move to the foot of the bed and touch her foot trying to stimulate her somehow. Trying to bring her back.

The visitors were wonderful.

They talked of fun times they’d had together.

They looked at Kim and talked to her as if they couldn’t see the respirator.

They talked to her like we were out somewhere together for fun.

Her aunt loaded a picture of Kim and Maggie from the week before onto her iPad and put it near the foot of Kim’s bed. She wanted the staff to see Kim as the vibrant, smiling, fun-loving person she’d been before the semi hit her – and not as an anonymous patient on a respirator.

It worked.

The staff was wonderful.

They felt who Kim was through all of us.

They comforted us when she was being kept alive and wept when she was no longer with us.

The trauma doctor and the nurses in the ICU at Metro were just wonderful.

Kim had been in the health care profession.I’d never really thought about that word “care” in that context.

I’d guessed these people care for their patients health as in they take care of them.

But they also care for their patients and their families and friends as people.

I don’t know how they do it. Day after day. Night after night.

I am so thankful that they do.

I am thankful for the care and for caring.

Published in: on October 5, 2016 at 9:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Be Nicer

A couple of years ago I got an email from a former boss saying that all of their payments would be converted to electronic payments instead of checks and I would have to sign up for one of two payment options.

I wrote back to explain why I was uncomfortable with the options.

He wrote back to told me that it was not negotiable. If I wanted to be paid I would have to choose one. He said that the safer of the two options would take me less than an hour to set up at my bank.

I have since done that but at the time I wasn’t comfortable and I told him I would prefer to still be paid by check.

He told me it wasn’t an option.

I wrote back that I wasn’t litigious and I wouldn’t sue him, but that he owed me money and he would either pay me or he wouldn’t.

He asked me what it would take to pay me so that he never had to deal with me again.

I estimated what my royalties would come to over time.

He said I was off and offered to pay me half the amount in a check.


He wrote me an angry note about how I was a bully and how I had done horrible things to him, his partner, and one of his employees. He told me never to write to him again. He wouldn’t read it.

I was shaken.

He’d bullied me. He’d treated me badly for years after treating me so well. I’m sure he was angry and upset with me for leaving his company – but really it was the best thing for all of us. We just couldn’t agree on anything and there was no sense in continuing.

But that didn’t mean I hadn’t behaved badly as well.


I had.

I think of that this time of year because each year on the New Year I think about how I can become a better person in the new year and it almost always involves treating others better.

Be nicer.

Be more attentive.

Be patient.

Listen better.

Be nicer.

I know. I said that twice. It needs to be said at least twice.

I’ve learned I can’t fix what I’ve done. It’s done. I can apologize but the other person may or may not accept the apology and it doesn’t undo what I did.

Kim and I hardly ever fought these past few years but it always came down to one or the other of us saying to the other one “you’re being mean.”

We’d gotten so sensitive to this that it didn’t take much meanness to qualify.

Usually the response was, “no, you’re being mean.”

Usually the truth was, we both were. We weren’t being very mean but we needed to stop.

Usually we would.

You know how to make life better?

Be nicer.

Published in: on October 3, 2016 at 8:44 am  Comments (1)  


I taught statistics the summer that Kim and I got married.

People often confuse math with arithmetic. They think of what I do as just numbers. How boring. Math is not boring. It is pretty and creative. It helps you understand the world around you and invent new ones with different rules.

We chose to get married in August because we both were working and we were both in school. We figured we’d get married between the summer term and the fall semester.

That summer was pretty busy. Kim worked during the day and was putting in student hours in speech therapy in the afternoon and some evenings. That meant that I had to go over to her parents’ house every day to train our puppy.

I loved teaching statistics in the summer term.

Statistics is so much more than numbers. It can really come alive.

A lot of classes are so intense in the shortened time of the summer term but stats seems to come together when students see how everything fits together.

That fall, Kim took Statistics at Case as part of her speech program. I taught a semester at Oberlin.

One night Kim was frowning over her homework.

“What?” I asked.

“I can’t show you,” she said.


“My teacher explicitly asked me not to show what we’re learning to you.”


“Yeah, she said ‘please don’t show this to your husband.”

“Is she afraid I’ll help you?”

“No, she’s embarrassed that the statistics we’re learning isn’t rigorous enough.”

Anyway, Maggie and I were driving together on the highway this weekend. It was our first time driving past the site where Kim was hit by the semi.

A car wandered into our lane.

It was on my right. I was clearly where the driver could see me. The car drifted closer and closer until it was over the line into our lane.

I honked the horn.

The driver glared at me and corrected back into his lane. Before long he started to drift the other way.

On the way home there was one of those signs that tells you how much time it will take to get to various landmarks. It also had some information about accidents and slowdowns ahead.

You’ve seen those signs.

“Click-it or ticket.”

“Don’t drive drunk.”

“The number of deaths this year on Ohio roads is…”

Oh. Statistics.

Numbers mean something different when you have a story for one of those deaths.

They don’t always help you understand the world around you though.

I’ve seen that sign for years. I don’t think I’ll look at it the same again.

Published in: on October 2, 2016 at 9:07 pm  Leave a Comment  


It’s been more than a month of filling in forms but yesterday was different.

A couple of days after Kim died, the HR woman at work called to tell me that her insurance would be discontinued on the last day of the month.

We had our health insurance through Kim – it was actually the reason she hadn’t quit her job when she’d wanted to. But that’s a different story.

The woman was very nice but said that by law they had to stop the insurance at the end of the month.

I told her I wasn’t sure but I think the law said they couldn’t stop it sooner but they could provide it longer.

The woman was very nice. She was related to the woman that was the lunchroom aid in Elena’s classroom.

Small world.

The very nice woman said she would help me through the forms for COBRA as well as the life insurance forms. She came to the wake and expressed her condolences in person.

She was not what I’d imagined an HR person would be like.

She was, however, exactly the woman that Kim had described. Kim had really liked her and you could see why. A caring, kind person doing more than just her job.

The COBRA forms came and I didn’t quite understand them. A social worker at a hospital tried to explain them to me and she called the COBRA contact for me. As nice as the social worker was, she wasn’t understanding any better than I. She handed the phone to me and a very nice COBRA administrator explained which boxes to check.

I had not expected a COBRA administrator to be nearly that nice.

I checked those boxes and sent the form in.

A week later I got a form back that said they had my application and now I had to send in a check for some amount specified to start things up.

I called the COBRA administrator.

She was very nice. She explained everything to me. She said that she too had lost a spouse. Not at all what I’d expected a COBRA administrator to be like.

She told me to call her back at the end of the week and she would give me an update.

Friday I called her and she said she’d received my check and talked to the HR woman at Grace Hospital and I should call her.

I called the HR woman at Grace and she said she had a few more forms for me to sign.

I asked if I should come in to fill them out.

She said she’d call me back.

She walked over to the mail room and saw that the mail had gone out for the day. No need to come in. She emailed me the forms and offered to help me fill them out.

I need help from her with some parts of the form, but the one that gave me pause was marital status.

For the first time I had to check a new box.

For thirty-some years I’d checked single.

For twenty-some years I’d checked married.

Now I checked widow.

I may need more help filling in this form than I thought.

Published in: on October 2, 2016 at 7:03 am  Leave a Comment  

My Eulogy for Kim

This is the eulogy I delivered for Kim at her funeral.


The first time Kim and I went out, she told me two things:

* she lived in little Italy and could have me killed for fifty dollars and

* she was afraid of surviving a brain injury in a car accident.

She told me that on our first date.

It was January 25 1992. We’d been friends for a while but had never gone anywhere. Now and then I got tickets from the radio station I worked for and invited her to go with me. This time she accepted.

Over the next couple of months we spent more and more time together but Kim didn’t really want to date me.

She told me later that she knew if  we dated, we’d get married, and she really wanted to marry a Catholic.

One night she told me she’d pick up dinner on the way back from class and we should meet at her apartment.

She stopped for Chinese takeout. We’d decided to split a meal and an entree. She chose the meal I chose the entree.

I met her at her apartment and was snooping around a bit. I opened her refrigerator.

There were only three things in it:  half-and-half for her coffee, a bottle of vodka, and a box – a box – of wine.

I turned around and she’d served the rice and the two entrees on plates for us and carried them over to the table.

“Where’s the egg roll”, I asked.

“What egg roll,” she asked back, her mouth filled with the egg roll.

“I thought we were going to split it.”

“You’re entree didn’t come with an egg roll.”

That was Kim.

For the next twenty-some years together I would say – “I should have known. That egg roll.”

That also wasn’t Kim.

Just last week we went to see the Shaker Community Band play. It was a beautiful night on the lawn and the music was fun. Maggie introduced one of the pieces and we couldn’t have been prouder.

“Did you know she was going to do this?” Kim asked.


Maggie was poised, funny, and got all of the facts in effortlessly. Kim and I were so proud of what Maggie has become.

Kim and Maggie went out for food afterwards. They stopped for Mexican food. Kim texted that they were bringing some back, did I want any?

“No thank you.”

But Kim was already planning to share with me before she got home. She loves cilantro and I don’t and she ordered her burrito without cilantro. When she got home she asked again if I wanted any.

No thanks.


Maybe a bite.

She cut us each a big piece and I came to the table and the three of us sat and ate.

Not hardly the eggroll Kim.

Kim was not the woman I married. We changed each other over the twenty three years we were married.

We had 22 good years and one bad one.

Everyone assumes I mean the year that Elena died. That was a bad year for both of us but not for our marriage.

We went through something no-one should have to go through but I was fortunate to do it with Kim.

Many couples don’t survive such a loss. I don’t know how we did.

No the one bad year was our first year of marriage. It was horrible. We were eldest children, stubborn, and over thirty when we married and we didn’t understand that giving and giving-in can mean winning not losing.

One particularly tense day, Kim announced “I’m going to work. And when I get home I’m going to give you a list of everything I’m unhappy with in this marriage.”

She went to the kitchen to put on her shoes.

Then she came back in the living room and said, “and you can make a list too.”

I think my list saved our marriage.

One of the items on my list mentioned that she rode to work every day with her friend and co-worker Rick. He picked her up in the morning and dropped her off at night. I’ll bet that you say “thank you” every time. I think if I thank you every time you do something for me and you thank me every time I do something for you, we’ll notice how much we do for each other and not stay so angry that we think we’re doing everything and the other person is doing nothing.

Sure, you thank someone else to show your appreciation but you also say thank you to stop and note that other people are doing things for you. It’s so important to pause and feel grateful.

It’s not that we never argued after that. But we only every argued about stupid things and it was never personal.

I hated that when she washed up the kitchen counter with a paper towel she would leave it in the sink to use again later.

Stupid stuff.

She hated that when I knocked down the curtain from the back room to the kitchen I never put it up straight.

Last week she looked up at the curtain rod and looked at me. I looked at it and at her and said, “what?”

She said, trying to be encouraging, “thanks honey. I’m glad that you tried to put the curtain back up, but can’t you see it’s not even?”

I didn’t. I went to adjust it and she said “no, that’s ok, I’ll do it.”

I’d stand with the refrigerator open and say, “I don’t see the hamburgers from last night.”

And she’d say, “you have to bend over and move things out of the way.”

We both tried to do what the other wanted. Some things just weren’t in us.

When we prepared to get married I wrote our service.

I talked to Kim about what was important to her and she looked through the standard vows and said, “I won’t say ‘obey’”

So I told her we could write our own vows. We each came back with a list. She read my list and said “these are really nice. Don’t read mine.”

So I read hers.

She couldn’t think of any so she’d gone to a drugstore and copied down the inside of greeting cards.

On our wedding day she had nowhere to keep the vows so I kept both of ours on index cards in my pocket. As we got close to the part where we were to say the vows I took them out of my pocket.

Kim looked at the top card which was to have the first vow she would make. She looked at the priest and motioned for him to look over. He laughed.

I had added a fake card to the top of the pile that just said “I obey.”

Once the priest saw, I moved that card to the bottom and showed our first real vow.

The vows are on our wedding contract. Our Ketubah.

When I wanted Kim to do something for me, I used to tell her, “you have to, it’s in the Ketubah.”

It never was an argument that worked for me – unlikely that the Ketubah says that a wife must get her husband ice cream on the way home from work. But it was worth a shot.

I reread our vows yesterday. We kept them all – but the first one captures our marriage. I am grateful we were able to live it.

It says –

“We were Friends first. Let us always be friends first. Let us respect each other as we share our thoughts, feelings, and experiences.”

Kim was my best friend.

We talked about everything. We made each other laugh. She gave me perspective.

I would get upset about the little things – a broken glass, a burnt pizza – she’d say “What’s the big deal.”

I’d sulk about something she’d done or said and she say “You’re being ridiculous.”

I don’t know if you know this, but Kim and I were within twenty feet of each other for many years before we ever met.

She worked in an office near where I lived and we went to the same Wendy’s for the baked potato.

My first year of teaching high school here in Ohio was her last year at John Carroll. I would meet many of the other teachers for drinks after work on Friday at the same bar that Kim and her friends would end the week at. They’d look over at the old teachers invading their bar and we’d look at these rowdy kids wishing they were a little quieter.

There was only a year between our ages.

Kim and I were in the same end zone when we were just about Maggie’s age to watch the Browns lose to Oakland on the last play of a bitter cold game. That’s right. I married a woman who saw Red Right 88 from just a few feet away from where I saw it. That same woman and I saw the Indians play in the World Series.

We had a shared background. A common context. A life of similar experiences that let us speak the same language.

We did so much together. We each saw different things but we mainly saw things the same.

We traveled the world together with and without the girls. Once Maggie was in college Kim came with me a lot – she was fun

One of my favorite pictures is of us in Greece last year. We are standing next to each other calf deep in the sea looking out towards the horizon.

Like so many of our adventures, it took both of us to get there.

I got us to that shore but she’s the one that moved us from watching the water from the sand to dipping our feet in the water.

I’ve got so many stories to tell you – but I’ve already taken up so much of your time.

You need to know that Kim never left anywhere fast. So I’m not in as much of a hurry as I might be.

We’d be at her parents house and she’d say, “Daniel’s going to yell at me, we have to leave.”

Her dad would look at me to see if I would get up. I’d shake my head and he’d nod. We both knew we were a good hour from actually leaving.

An hour later of saying goodbye and continuing to chat she’d look at me and say, “well?” like I was holding her up. I’d put on my shoes, say goodbye to everyone and go get the car.

Saturday, she was supposed to meet her friend, also a Kim, for coffee. “Do you mind?” she’d asked.

“Of course not.”

The last time she met this friend for coffee at 10 in the morning, I’d texted Kim at 2 to see what was going on. I texted her at 4. I texted her at 5.

When Kim was with you, she was with you. She didn’t pay attention to her phone. She didn’t have one eye on Facebook. I think one reason so many people here and around the world loved Kim is that she listened to you.

At 515 she texted me, “just saw your texts. Getting ready to leave.” From a ten o’clock coffee meeting.

Kim didn’t like leaving – it’s part of what makes it so hard that she’s left us now.

There are so many different kinds of love. Our life together progressed through many of them.

There was the fresh relationship – everything is new – every touch is electric love.

There’s the over scheduled love – where you’re making sure the kids are where they need to be and you’re there to see them.

There’s the grieving love where you share the loss with the only other person who understands it quite that way.

We were just getting to the good part.

We weren’t settling in to a marriage where we stay together ‘cause we’re used to each other. We were doing more together and enjoying each other’s company more than ever.

She was concerned that as she aged, her skin was changing and getting old. She was still so cute. Sure she was beautiful – but she was cute. She was fun.


She shouldn’t be in the past tense.

When Elena died, Kim and I stood together at the wake as person after person came up to us in tears.

I turned to Kim about an hour in and said “I’m glad we could help them through our loss.”

I didn’t understand loss at the time. It was their loss too. They grieved for Elena and they grieved for us.

At the hospital this weekend, many people thanked me for letting them visit Kim.

I now understood – thanking me for allowing them to share our loss. It was all of our loss.

People asked if I minded if they came in the room to see her.

People asked if I needed time alone with her.

I now understand that this is important. That we as a community share this moment.

The other night my beautiful neighbors gathered in Elena’s garden and shared stories and prayers for Kim.

People have asked what they can do – I’ll tell you.

One of the hardest things about death is that the world moves on.

Please don’t ask how I’m doing.

I’ll either have to lie to you or say something inappropriate. Instead, tell me a story about you and Kim.

After Elena died, Kim and I loved to hear stories from people about Elena. We’d start to cry and they’d say “I’m sorry”

We’d say, “no, no, we love when other people mention her name.” So many people are afraid to talk about the dead to loved ones. I want to hear your Kim stories.

I worry most of all about Maggie. I said to Dave the other day, she doesn’t show me her emotions. She won’t accept help. He said, “of course not. She’s your daughter.”

So I will try to accept help from you. I’m not good at it.

Actually, I find kindness a little annoying. But I will try to accept your hugs and kindness in hopes that Maggie will do the same.

Please, small doses and not too much at a time. I’m new at this.

When you ask me something there may be a pause – I’m so used to saying, “hang on, I have to check with Kimmy.”


Poor Honey.

She used to look at someone who was hurting, someone who things weren’t going right for and say “poor honey.”

Kim made it clear what she wanted us to do. It didn’t make it easier to actually do it –  but it would have been selfish to do otherwise. One of the biggest gifts you can give your loved ones is to make this decision for them.

Don’t say you are too young to do this. Kim was too young.

I told my friend Kevin, “Kim was the fun one. Kim was the reason we got invited places.”

“No,” he said, “she was the reason you got invited back.”

I worry most of all about Maggie. Last week I overheard Maggie telling Kim, “I hate my new glasses.”

Kim said, “take them back. Exchange them. Get a pair you like. You have thirty days.”

Maggie – I wouldn’t have thought to say any of that.

I would have lectured you that you should have made sure before you chose them. I wouldn’t have been mean but I wouldn’t have thought to be so nice.

Your mom knew when to say “it’s no big deal”.

I worry  about you so much Maggie.

How do you walk on the ground with confidence when the earth has crumbled beneath your feet twice?

How do you plan your future when you’ve seen how quickly everything can change.

Mom and my last text was about dinner. Did she want burgers or did she want to go out – we hadn’t gone out to dinner for our anniversary yet.

We were going to have burgers.

Kim embraced the moment she was in. She was never in such a rush for the next thing that she missed what was happening now. But she also flossed, paid the bills, and did the things that you might ignore if you only focussed on the current moment and ignored the future.

You don’t have to listen to this advice, Maggie, but I think you have to live your life with two thoughts in your head at once. I think your mom did.

You have to live each day as if it’s your last and you have to live each day as if it isn’t.


Published in: on September 29, 2016 at 7:57 am  Comments (1)  

Make a Wish

It’s my first birthday without Kimmy in a quarter of a century.

On the first birthday we were together, she was one of the friends that I had over to my apartment for a Chinese meal I cooked.

I think she and Jodelle came early to help me cut vegetables and meat and assemble the dishes. I know she stayed after everyone left to help me clean up.

A year later we’d celebrated my birthday as a married couple in our new house half a block from my apartment.

A month and a half ago on our anniversary I told Kim that in a few years we would have been together more years than we would have been apart.

Turns out, we won’t.

Maggie and I will go out for a late breakfast this morning and head over to the gym this afternoon. All things considered, I think that’s the best birthday possible right now.

Other than that, I’m going to catch up on email, pay some bills, and write some more thank you notes.

I never do much on my birthday – this year I’m feeling it even less than other years.

I don’t know why I’ve waited to post my eulogy for Kim. I’ll do that today as well.

No cake.

No candles.

Just a wish that Maggie have a long and happy life and that her mom lives on through both of us and the many people she touched.

Published in: on September 29, 2016 at 7:41 am  Comments (1)