Kim used to love to make pies.

Not often.

But every once in a while she’d get in the mood.

One of her favorites was cranberry-apple. Around this time of year she’d go in the kitchen to make one. Sometimes I’d make the crust for her – she found that challenging.

The hardest part of making a good flaky crust is not putting too much water in it. We’ve tried all sorts of tricks over the years.This year I made a crust I heard about on Milk Street Radio. You microwave the water with cornstarch til it forms a solid gel. Then you pulse the cooled gel into the flour in a food processor.

After that it’s the usual. Add the fat, chill the dough, then roll it out. This dough feels different when you roll it out. It’s more pliable.

I put it in the baking dish and evened it out and trimmed the edges.

Then I filled the crust with apples and cranberries and spread a sugar cinnamon mix on top. I dotted the top with butter and put it in a 400 oven for an hour.

It looked great.

Maggie got back from work just after the pie came out of the oven.

I took a shower.

We had to leave soon.

We were going to drive separately but we were going to leave together. She would follow me.

I packed the pie and some other items and took them out to my car along with Kim’s ashes. I put the food on the floor in the back seat of the car and put Kim in the passenger seat beside me. I thought a moment and moved her to the floor in front of the passenger seat.

Maggie came out behind me and locked up.

We headed to the cemetery. I didn’t see Maggie’s text til later.

“Do u have mum” she texted.

That’s so Maggie. At twenty she’s driving to the cemetery to bury her mother and wants to make sure I’ve brought Kim with me.

We got to the cemetery at 230 – right on time. I’d considered waiting a while – Kim would have been late.

A group of family and friends waited while I talked to the guy from Lake View who was helping us with the burial. He was amazingly good about everything. Respectful of the family. Supportive. Gentle.

I led the group to the grave site. Right next to Elena.

Kim’s ashes are enclosed in a marble urn.

They had set the urn on a small stand.

I’d checked with Father Gary and he gave me a prayer to read but had said there wasn’t really a graveside service.

I invited people to speak. I waited. None of us were in a hurry.

A few people spoke.

The rest of us nodded.

I thanked everyone for being there and for helping me through the three months – it’s been three months – since Kim died. I didn’t really know what to say except that “Kim has left a big freaking hole.”

I read the prayer.

I told everyone that we would now be actually burying her ashes. If you don’t want to see that you can leave. No rush. You can stay as long as you want before we do that.

I nodded at the man from Lake View.

He called over his crew and they passed her ashes among them as they lifted the stand the ashes had been on and pulled back a covering that was over the hold. They treated her remains with respect and kindness – it meant a lot.

One member of his crew knelt in front of the hole and they passed him the urn. He gently lowered it.

It was surprising what a small hole it actually was.

The contact from Lake View came over and asked me quietly if we wanted to leave or if we wanted to be there while they back filled the grave.

I told him we’d stay.

He walked half-way back to the grave and then came back and quietly asked if any of us would like to shovel dirt in as well.

I thanked him and said yes that some of us would.

I let those gathered know what had been offered and went over and accepted the shovel.

I took a shovel full of dirt and gently sprinkled it on the urn.

Kim’s brother followed me and used his hands to place more dirt.

Others followed.

When we had finished I nodded at the man from Lake View. His crew then shoveled the rest of the dirt and added the square of grass they had cut back on top.

I stood a moment longer.

I looked at half of my family dead in the ground.

Kim and Elena.

A big freaking hole.

Published in: on November 26, 2016 at 10:57 am  Comments (2)  


Thanksgiving wasn’t as bad as I feared.

It might have been because we had planned to bury Kim on Friday so we knew all day that the next day would be harder.

I love cooking for Thanksgiving.

One one hand, it’s the most boring holiday to cook for. People love to eat the same things every year. The “same things” might vary by family but Thanksgiving dinner is about familiarity.

Usually I buy two heritage turkeys and brine them and cook them on Tuesday. This year I bought two frozen turkeys. We expected twenty people.

I cooked the first turkey on Friday, carved it, and froze the white meat in one freezer bag and the dark meet in the other.

I cooked the second turkey on Tuesday. Carved it and refrigerated the meat in two bags. I also pulled the frozen meat out of the oven.

I also made an asparagus soup on Tuesday that could be served cold as a first course. I know asparagus is more of a spring soup than a fall soup but some people at the table don’t like mushrooms and some are vegetarian and one is allergic to tomatoes and I wanted to start with a soup that wouldn’t require a burner. I found a recipe for a fennel soup but the fennel in the store didn’t look great so I swapped out the fennel for asparagus.

Wednesday I made the stuffing. We’d experimented for years til we got it to taste like what Kim remembered of her grandmother’s stuffing. This year I doubled the sausage and mixed two flavors of bread cubes. It was really good. I made two casseroles worth and only a spoonful was left after people took some home with them.

I made two loaves of bread and put them in the refrigerator to rise over night.

I made the cranberry sauce and set it aside to cool as well.

Mostly done.

Thanksgiving day and I had four things left to do: bake off the bread, make the gravy from the drippings that I’d frozen along with the meat, make the mashed potatoes, and heat everything up.

I’d undercooked the meat a little and there was still quite a bit of pink on it. I finished it in a water bath at 145 degrees and it came out moist and flavorful – probably the best the turkey has ever come out.

Family and friends arrived while I was still cooking the potatoes. I’d cooked 5 pounds but they decided it wouldn’t be enough so I cooked another 3 pounds. It would have been more than enough.

I ran up stairs to take a shower. Came down, and called everyone to the table.

My brother and his wife helped run the food to the table.

Maggie had to come and get me – they won’t start eating without you.

Kim had the gravitas to tell them “oh just eat” and they would. Without her they waited for me to come in and taste the soup.

I thought it was a really nice Thanksgiving dinner.

Of course there was the elephant in the room, but the room was filled with people who had shared other Thanksgivings when Kim was there. They knew.

Thanksgiving dinner looks impressive. It’s a wide range of food. But you just plan ahead and make a little each day.

It’s planning, preparation, and pacing.

It’s how I get through every day.

Published in: on November 25, 2016 at 9:42 am  Leave a Comment  


Maggie pulled a pound of butter out of the refrigerator and opened it and pulled out one of the sticks.

“How much do you need?” I asked.

“Two tablespoons,” she answered.

“Is that our last pound or is there another?” I asked.

“Last one,” she said.

I closed my eyes and started counting. Almost everything I make for Thanksgiving requires butter.

“Is it ok?” she asked.

I nodded.

“It’s going to be close,” I said. “Do I need to put sticks of butter out with the bread?”

“Maybe one stick,” she said.

“Real close.”

I thought another minute and then said, “oh”.

“What?” she asked.

“I was going to make mom’s favorite pie for Friday. Maybe I’ll run out for butter.”

I didn’t want to run to the grocery store on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

My brother texted to see if we needed anything. I told him we could use a pound of butter.

Maggie went to work last night. When she got done she texted me at 11 to say she was stopping to get some snack food.

“Want anything?” she texted.

“Something chocolate,” I texted back. “I’m going to bed.”

When I came downstairs there was a bag of Hershey’s Kisses on the coffee table in the living room. I went to the kitchen to make coffee.

We toast bread in the oven using the broiler. I opened the oven to put the bread in. The top rack was one setting too low. I took it out and put it back in.

Maggie had cooked something.

I opened the refrigerator to get the butter and jam. There was a second pound of butter in the refrigerator with a stick missing.

I looked on top of the cabinet.

The container of Chex Mix had been moved.

Maggie had made a batch of Chex Mix last night after midnight and had cleaned up nicely.

She’d stopped at the store at 1130 for a pound of butter.

To me that’s good parenting.

Thanks Kim.

Published in: on November 24, 2016 at 12:31 pm  Comments (1)  

Early Thanksgiving

When Kim and I first got married we had to work out whose family we’d go to for the various holidays.

Obviously, we’d go to her parents’ house for Christmas and Easter, we went to her aunt and uncle’s house for Christmas Eve, and we’d go to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving.

The problem with that was that I love to cook and we wouldn’t be hosting anything.


So a year or two in, I suggested to Kim that we have a pre-thanksgiving dinner and invite a couple of people over.

That’s how we began our “Non-Dysfunctional Thanksgiving Dinner” tradition.

There were many great years.

One year we invited my parents over and then took them and the kids over to see our new house that we would be buying. Kim’s parents hadn’t wanted to join us for dinner but they met us at the house as well.

Our kids ran around the two trees in the front yard and I knew our decision had been made. We could see ourselves in this house and would make an offer the next week.


We’d looked at a couple of houses. The other house we had narrowed it down to had an amazing kitchen and very little backyard. This house had a nice backyard and very little kitchen.

I’ve cooked in this “one-butt kitchen” for fifteen years and now I spend much of the year working from the back yard. Turned out to be a win-win.

Year after year we hosted people the Tuesday before Thanksgiving for this pre-Thanksgiving meal.

Then we had two bad ones in a row.

At the first, the family we’d invited over argued the whole meal. Kim and I looked at each other. This isn’t non-dysfunctional. We could have hosted our own families and argued less than that.

The following year the husband arrived late and wandered into the kitchen. He didn’t approve of the way I was making the gravy and made some suggestions.

Kim followed him in and ushered him out and said we’d be ready in a minute.

She looked back in and said, “be nice.”

“I was,” I said. “Is he drunk?”

“I think so,” she said.

“I’m ready, can you get everyone to the table, please.”


I brought in the food and everyone ate and had a good time.

Kim and I cleared the table and walked back in to serve dessert. Almost everyone was at the table. I furrowed my brow. Kim shrugged.

I wandered into the living room and there was the husband lying on the floor, fast asleep and drunk.

That was our last official non-dysfunctional Thanksgiving. We decided once the “non” was gone, there was no sense in continuing.

We only did one more pre-Thanksgiving.

A friend of ours was going in for surgery and wouldn’t be home til the day after Thanksgiving.

We always love having them over.

So we cooked a small Turkey and made all the usual sides and had the best time ever.

The last half a dozen years, Kim and I took over hosting the regular Thanksgiving dinner. It was a great way for us to see both her family and mine. Each set of parents could enjoy the holiday with their three children and their spouses. Each set of parents could spend Thanksgiving with their three grandkids.

This year we’re continuing the tradition and hosting both sides again.

Here’s to our regular Thanksgiving dinner this year being non-dysfunctional.

Published in: on November 22, 2016 at 8:27 pm  Leave a Comment  


Some time over the summer the three of us were sitting in the living room.

“I used to hate holidays,” Maggie said.

“Why?” Kim asked.

“After Elena died,” Maggie said, “you guys would always cry.”

It’s true.

Not like that first year.

I don’t really count St Patrick’s Day. It was really more of an excuse to get the family together. We hosted it at our house so that it was different – we’d never hosted a St Patrick’s Day party.

That morning I made the coffee. I’d bought cream and whipped some of it and made Irish coffee with whiskey, a sugar cube, and cream topped with whipped cream. While Kim and I stood in the kitchen and drank our Irish coffee I put the corned beef in the pot to boil.

Kim and I had had Irish coffee at the Buena Vista in San Francisco on our trip out there the summer before we were married. That spring I’d shown up at her office with all the fixings to make Irish Coffee for her and the two women that worked in the office opposite.

Adelbert Hall had had a horrible fire and many of the offices had been relocated. Two women had been relocated across the hall from Kim and she often spent time talking with them. I think they said no to the whiskey and whipped cream and green food coloring – but Kim and I sat in her office and enjoyed a cup together.

That first St Patrick’s Day after Elena died I cooked a bunch of corned beef and cabbage and potatoes. We put out mustard and rye bread. We had plenty of beer and Irish Whiskey.

Kim’s family came over and so did friends of ours who had just suffered the death of a sibling. I think that was when his sister died. His sister, mom, and dad died not so far apart. It was not an easy couple of years for him.

We all cried a bit but it was so close to Elena’s death that it didn’t feel out of place.

Easter was different.

We went over to Kim’s parents like we always did. Except it wasn’t like always. It was just the three of us now. It hadn’t sunk in yet that it would always be just the three of us.

As it turned out, that’s not even true. It will never be more than the three of us. This year there are two.

We sat down to dinner.

A minute later, Kim excused herself and quietly left the table and went upstairs to her old room and started wailing.

I know what Maggie means when she said she hated holidays.

There was pain in that cry that I’ve never heard before.

I went upstairs and held her but there was nothing I could do. She calmed a bit and told me to go back down.

That was pretty much how that first year went. One  of us would become inconsolable and the other would show support and then give space.

Over the years we got to the point where we’d tell stories about Elena at holidays and would smile instead of cry. Not to say that we never cried about Elena any more but holidays weren’t the trigger they once were.

Poor Maggie. Her holidays are about to suck again.

I’ve already roasted the first turkey for Thursday. Usually I break off a piece and walk into the living room and put it in Kim’s mouth.

“What do you think?” I ask.

“It’s really good,” she’d say.

“Want more?” I ask.

“No that’s ok.”

“Should I put some aside for dinner tonight?”

“That would be good.”

She’d look at me limping back to the kitchen. I always do something to my foot this time of year. “You should rest,” she’d call after me.

“Gotta make the soup.”

Usually I make a cream of mushroom soup and then use half of it for the green bean casserole. This year someone else is bringing the beans.

This year I carved the first Turkey and put the dark meat in one bag and the white meat in another. I strained the drippings to make gravy.

I started to cry.

It’s shocking how little yield you get from the bird.

Just these two little bags of meat from that big bird.

That’s not why I was crying. But it was. All that gives you just this?

Sorry Maggie. You’re going to hate the holidays this year.

Published in: on November 20, 2016 at 11:50 am  Comments (1)  


I was invited to provide a victim statement for the criminal case against the man who killed Kim. I was asked three questions. The third was about the effects of the crime – I posted that response yesterday.

Pre-trial was to begin a month ago. That’s when I answered the three questions. It was delayed to begin today so I wrote this addendum about the effects of the crime.


Kim is still dead.

I know that sounds silly to you, but one of the hardest things about death is that life goes on for other people.

I think it’s important for you to understand that the most profound effect of the crime is that Kim is dead and that Kim is still dead.

The defendant got his truck back nearly a month ago. He can work again. He can return to his house after a run.

All of my losses remain.

Today, Kim and I would have been traveling from the Swiss Alps to Amsterdam together. I would be teaching a workshop in Amsterdam that would pay for her trip and more. We love walking the streets of Amsterdam together – visiting the museums, sitting at a cafe along the canals. We’ve never been to the Swiss Alps.

I’m not in Amsterdam and I couldn’t tell you what the Swiss Alps are like.

Kim is still dead.

This case needs to be resolved. It is an open wound.

The facts haven’t changed in the three months since the accident. The truck was returned to the defendant. No more evidence can be found there. Kim’s car was totaled. There was nothing there that could be saved.

It’s getting colder and I’ve been taking the outdoor furniture down to the basement. There in the corner is the hard top to Kim’s car. Usually we carry it up the stairs and put it on for the winter. The car’s been totaled. We have a hard top leaning against the wall.

Those reminders are everywhere.

Thanksgiving is a little over a week away. Maggie and I will host Kim’s and my families. I don’t know what we’ll talk about but I know what we’ll all be thinking about.

Kim is still dead.

By now millions of tires have driven over the scene of the crime. I’ve driven over it a dozen times. It doesn’t get easier.

This case needs to be resolved.

My father-in-law is in the courtroom today. He came last month. He’s there again today. His daughter was killed three months ago. Close this wound for him. Close this wound for all of us. There are plenty of other open wounds.

So many of us have holes that are emptier than the seat next to me at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. Kim’s seat.

Kim is what made our house warm and inviting. When you visited you felt unhurried. I may glance at my watch or look over at my laptop but Kim never did. She made our house a home.

I think that’s the thing about the effect of the crime. It’s not a static thing. It’s not something that happened and is over – not for us.

Life goes on around us. Sure, we’re getting better but we’re preparing for a year of awful firsts.

The first Thanksgiving without Kim.

The first Christmas without Kim.

The first New Year’s Eve without Kim.

The first year I’ve had to commemorate the anniversary of the death of our daughter without Kim.

The effects of the crime are ongoing.

Most of all, Kim is still dead.

Published in: on November 15, 2016 at 10:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Effects of the Crime

I was invited to provide a victim statement for the criminal case against the man who killed Kim. I was asked three questions. Here is my reply to the third. I, of course, wrote this under the stress of the moment. I am posting these thoughts but not inviting comment. I found each question more difficult to answer than the last.


Kim was the love of my life.

Before she got in the car to drive from one hospital she worked at to another she and I texted about what we were going to do for dinner. We had just passed our 23rd wedding anniversary and hadn’t yet gone out for dinner. We hadn’t gone out on the actual night because I’d had a root canal that morning and she wanted to wait so we’d enjoy it properly. We thought of going to Edwin’s that night but it was a beautiful night and we decided to cook burgers on the grill outside.

The last communication I got from Kim was a text that read “Burgers”.

Our daughter Maggie was about to start her third year at Haverford College where she is pre-med. After Kim’s death, Maggie was unable to concentrate adequately at school and I had to go pick her up and withdraw her from school. I have no idea when she’ll be able to go back and what she has lost.

That’s not completely true.

She’s lost her mother. They had an amazingly close relationship. There are things that Maggie would tell me and things that she would tell Kim. Kim understood Maggie better than anyone in the world. Maggie has lost that person – forever.

Kim’s relationship with her own mother was quite close. Kim and her mother talked on the phone at least once a day and often more. We had dinner with Kim’s parents fairly often and visited their house quite a bit.

Kim and my younger daughter died ten years ago. I can’t describe what it’s like to go through a huge loss but this time without Kim. Kim and I supported each other emotionally and we supported each other in practical ways.

Kim worked in the medical field. She navigated us through insurance forms and doctors’ visits. As my and her parents grew older, Kim was making great recommendations and helping them get everything in order. Kim was making plans for our own eventual move to a retirement home. In addition, the medical insurance we had was through Kim’s work. When Kim died, we were given less than a week to figure out what we’d do next as the insurance would expire on the last day of August.

Kim organized the neighborhood summer block party. She volunteered for various charities and events. She gave generously. She made sure we kept in touch with friends.

Kim and I saw the world together. After she died I cancelled our trip in September to Spain and my trip to DC. I cancelled our October trip to Italy, Atlanta, and London – she always wanted to go to Italy. I cancelled our November trips to Amsterdam, the Swiss Alps, San Francisco, and London.

I cancelled the trips because I can’t imagine going without Kim.

I also cancelled because I was going for work and I can’t think clearly enough to write books or teach classes. I’m not sure how I’m going to earn money at the level I have for years.

I am self-employed. I train companies and individuals in writing iPhone apps. I missed a significant deadline by not having my book in iPhone programming ready in time for the iPhone launch in September as planned. Now it probably won’t sell very many copies. My classes need updating and need to be taught – each one of the conferences where I was supposed to teach and had to cancel was able to replace me. Now who knows if that will be the end of my training business.

I’ve lost Kim’s guidance. She always knew when it was time for me to try something new. Together we did so much. Alone – I just can’t imagine.

We drove Maggie to school each semester together. I’d drive the first leg then she’d take over. We’d listen to books on tape or NPR shows.

The effects of the crime on me? So much is lost from my morning coffee to lying alone in bed at night. Well, not quite alone. The dog still sleeps at the foot of the bed.

The loss is everywhere. I watch the Indians games and think that the last time they got this far, she and I were down at the ball park watching them. She taught me not to eat a hot dog at the ball park til the fourth inning then taught me to go ahead and eat the reheated hot dogs anyway.

I’ve lost my love, my partner, my best friend, my advisor, my sous chef, my travel companion, the mother of my daughter, …. It’s a huge hole in my life.

Published in: on November 14, 2016 at 9:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Sanction for the Defendant

I was invited to provide a victim statement for the criminal case against the man who killed Kim. I was asked three questions. Here is my reply to the second. I, of course, wrote this under the stress of the moment. I am posting these thoughts but not inviting comment. I found each question more difficult to answer than the last.


Item 4 from the letter and Item 3 from the form on the website ask for my recommendation as to an appropriate sanction for the defendant.

I understand that no amount of punishment can bring my wife back and my thoughts on appropriate sanction are not vengeful in any way.

I also understand that the life of an independent trucker is a difficult one and that they are often encouraged to work with too little rest or when they aren’t feeling their best because it is so difficult to make a living.

On the other hand, the sanctions for killing my wife must be such that it is not something that someone can shrug off when considering driving while not at your best. It must be significant that when a driver’s attention flags, he or she pulls over and doesn’t think, “what’s the big deal.”

You read about corporations that take into account acceptable levels of death, suffering, and lawsuits in their calculations of whether or not to spend the time and money to address issues they know are harmful to the public.

The sanctions must be such that future truck drivers understand the risk to others and to themselves.

On the one hand, no sentence will be enough. On the other hand, there are sentences which will be too little given what he has taken from me, our daughter, her parents, my parents, her siblings, my siblings, her cousins, her friends, her co-workers, and her neighbors.

I’m sure you hear this a lot from victims families – but Kim was really special. She did so much for so many.

I don’t envy the task before the judge of sentencing the defendant appropriately to serve as a deterrence while addressing the actual loss.

Published in: on November 13, 2016 at 9:09 am  Leave a Comment  

The Crime

I was invited to provide a victim statement for the criminal case against the man who killed Kim. I was asked three questions. Here is my reply to the first. I, of course, wrote this under the stress of the moment. I am posting these thoughts but not inviting comment.


Items 2 and 3 from the letter are “The circumstances surrounding the crime” and “The manner in which the crime was perpetrated.”

Kim and I have been driving on the highway together for 24 years. When we drive together on long trips, the passenger will often point out cars that were behind us and are now out of view to make sure the driver noticed as well. The driver always notices.

By this I mean, no one is in our blind spot without us knowing.

In fact, something that irks us both as drivers is when someone pulls into our blind spot and stays there as it’s dangerous. We were both careful not to do this to another driver. If we pull out to pass a driver and they speed up so that we would be in their blind spot, we slow down and pull back in behind that driver.

I mention this for two reasons.

First, Kim was very aware of when she was in another driver’s blind spot.

Second, I expect a professional driver to proceed with at least as much care and awareness of who may be in his blind spot.

I’ve been told that the defendant moved into Kim’s lane and that she was in his blind spot. Physics suggests that she wasn’t. If she were then I would expect the impact to carry her to the right of the truck. The fact that she was struck from behind and spun ahead of the truck suggests that the inertia was such that the truck was going faster than the car at the time and struck her propelling her forward and into a spin. It is unlikely that she had been in his blind spot when he overtook her. It is more likely that he didn’t notice her. Whether she was in his blind spot or not, it is his job to ensure that she is not before he moves into her lane.

I don’t know whether the defendant was tired or careless or otherwise impaired. I do know that he is a professional driver in command of a vehicle that has mass many times that of my wife’s car. Again physics makes it most certain that when he drove his vehicle into hers, he was likely to survive while she was not.

Published in: on November 12, 2016 at 11:36 am  Leave a Comment  


“You aren’t the only one dealing with death, you know.”

I know.

I’ve thought about this a lot and written about it before. It’s one of those phrases that rings in my ears many years after it was said.

It was when I decided to quit my job editing for him and his partner.

It was several years after Elena died and I wasn’t consciously bringing her death to the workplace – but it was something that was always with me.

Once you join a club, you notice other club members in ways you never noticed before.

Others who had lost children. Others who had lost parents. Others who had lost spouses. Others who had lost siblings.

Everyone’s death was their death.

Everyone’s death was different, personal, and specific.

No one’s death was easier or harder than my daughter’s.

When a friend of mine lost his daughter to brain cancer he asked me not to tell him what was coming.

Don’t tell him it would be ok.

Don’t tell him it would fade.

I didn’t.

I had a friend who called me after Elena died. She told me about her father’s death and how her grief had progressed.

It didn’t help me in any specific way – except that it told me that once the day to day pain had subsided that there would be more that would sneak up on me and overwhelm me. That those times would be profoundly deeper yet less frequent.

Perhaps it was during one of those times that my boss told me that I wasn’t the only one dealing with death.

Those times when it sneaks up on you also happen when others have moved on. You seem mostly yourself again so they have stopped checking on you.

Kim’s death is still too fresh.

No one had to tell me what’s coming. I’ve already lived through the death of a loved one. And yet that doesn’t help me in any specific way.

The election results were a trigger I didn’t see coming. They knocked me flat. It’s as if one loss intensified another. I just wanted to talk about it with Kim.

Since Kim died I’ve become more aware of others in my new club.

A woman Kim had worked with came to the wake. I looked at her in line and knew that she knew. She had lost her husband. She had lost her child.

She got to the front of line and hugged me. She told me Kim was just talking to her about dating again. Kim had known her husband. Kim had worked with her husband’s best friend for many years. Kim had come to help with events for a foundation for this woman’s dead daughter. And Kim was talking to her about dating again.

So Kim.

On election day I headed out for a cup of coffee and to do some work. I just couldn’t focus at home. Maybe it would be better if I went somewhere.

I saw a man I hadn’t seen for a couple of years. We run into each other now and then at coffee houses. Thirty years ago we used to hang out together at the Arabica coffee house on Shaker Square. His wife was a principal in the Cleveland schools and he worked for a company that sold industrial chemicals.

I think of him now and then.

When I go to San Francisco I remember him because he worked on a project with the light rail that goes from the Ferry building to the ball park.

In June I thought of him when a well known former NBA basketball player died. They had been friends since childhood.

He invited me to sit with him. So I did.

He asked me to tell him what’s been happening. So I did.

I told him my wife had been killed in a car accident in August.

He looked up at me with tears in his eyes. His wife had died in September. They’d been married more than fifty years. When I first met him thirty years ago, he’d already been married longer than I would be married to Kim.

He’d just buried his brother in the last couple of weeks. His best friend had died in June. His wife died in September.

And then he told me his youngest son had died a couple of years ago at age 41 from colon cancer.

I told him my youngest daughter had died as well.

We told stories about the losses and then we told stories about the lives.

We sat for two hours.

It was like a club meeting.

You don’t want to join.

I didn’t want to.

The woman at the wake didn’t want to.

The man at the coffee house didn’t want to.

We hope not to add any others.

I’m not the only one dealing with death, you know.

Published in: on November 10, 2016 at 8:19 am  Comments (1)