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Hi mom!

Struggling to figure out what to say to you this evening. It’s been so long… maybe we should start out easy…

L & I are heading to New Orleans at the end of the week. It’s a family trip, with Michael, Kaylynn, & Karen. Remember when the three of you went down there together to scope out the joint for our wedding?

There may not have been any part of me that thought you could possibly think that this could last, but nevertheless, here we are.  Everything we’ve been through these last few years, we’re still sleeping, toes curled, side-by-side. 

L’s major complaint is that she wishes that she wishes she could go back to New Orleans with you, knowing you as she knows you now.  Mine is that I’ll never see that place as you did, will never see what you anticipated for me & my bride as you were charging around that grand old place with L, & K (you & pops were always so damned cagey!). It makes me think of the time you woke my ass up at dawn to see San Gimignano as the sun came up. I was miffed, crabby, & probably mean as hell, but holy crap, did I get some good pictures. 

I know now that that was you trying to bond with me any-damned-way you could. 

What I wanted to tell you this evening was that you are sorely missed, that I love you, & that none of us, not pops, Eric, or Lauren, has stopped thinking of you. 

I’ll end this with your usual sign-off.



Hi mom,

It’s Thursday. Never could get the hang of these damned things. Eric & I had a tough Wednesday, so we wound up toasting to you earlier in the week. I’m certain we’ll toast to you later, as well.

Lauren sends her love.

If I were to tell you what’s been going on here these days, I’m not certain you’d believe me.  Everyone’s really sad right now, & it doesn’t feel like there’s a hell of a lot of hope In the world.  I’ve been taking comfort in the words you said to me way back when Kurt Cobain took his own life.

Do you remember?

You were so sad, so concerned.  I think, largely, for me…  You told me that he’d taken his life before he could see that there was an end to the darkness, to his pain. Basically, that, over the course of a life, darkness comes. But darkness does pass.

Those words got me through a lot of the worst bits of my youth.

I don’t know if you ever knew that.

Anyway, I love you.  L & I talk about you all the time.  My hand is cramping like a bastard, but I’ll say this:

Your little brother is getting married in April. When I brought up mentioning you, & how much you would have loved to be there in a toast, L, QUITE RIGHTLY, that it’d be a total downer on the heels of a downer year.

I guess I did something right, there.

I love you, moms, & I’m missing you now, more than ever.



Hi mom!

Do (did) you ever get that feeling, when you’ve missed someone, but have forgotten that you were missing them, realized that you’d forgotten, and then that realization makes you miss them all the more?  It’s missing missing someone that makes their absence so much more painful, sometimes.

That reads like fucking nonsense.

It’s been a long week.  I’ve been thinking about you.


Hi moms,

It’s been too long since I’ve written you.  So much has been happening with the family.  For example: dad & grandma have been speaking regularly!  SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK!

Thought you would like that.

He & I are talking too, but I get the feeling he suspects I’m just calling him to be nice.  He says the same thing about the Pearlmans.

My shrink (sorry, I know your feelings w.r.t. psychologists) calls this “negating the positive,” so there’s something.

In my less charitable moments, I call it wallowing in self-pity.


I had do drive him home after dinner tonight.

How do I say this?

We had a long conversation about how fucked up the two of us felt about your death.  Dad screams at “god” in the mornings; I fight with my wife over who gets to miss you more.

It’s kind of a mess.

I’m trying here, mom.  I really am.

Always missing you,


Hi mom,

GEEZE.  Wait.  That reads more like “geese.”  Jesus-fucking-Christ, it’s been a long time since we’ve spoken.  There are so many distractions right now, I’m not really certain where to start.  There are two kids next to me on a really cute date, & I’ve got to keep looking off to the North to see whether the Perseids meteor shower has begun.

Nothing yet.

It’s making me look like kind of a maniac.

Remember my awful rat phase?  Moving up here, those two little monsters were the most tried and true friends I had made, as I was casting around for anything genuine and stable in my life.

Never really shared that with you, but I’m pretty certain you were on to me.

I vacillated between over-, & under-sharing with you in those years.  I can imagine how you and pops felt about me back then, what the two of you must have said…

Jesus, I miss you, moms.

Let’s call it quits for tonight.  The vultures are circling, & I don’t really know how to end this.

All my love,


PS No freaking meteors.  What a letdown!

Hi mom,

So these last few days have been pretty strange.  I spoke to grandma for basically forever today– nine minutes & fight-eight seconds.



Hi mom,

“Peeing and pooping at the same time.”

I imagine that was your last luxury.  After months of exhausting chemotherapy, but before those rotten days in, & out of sedation, hooked up to machine after ghoulish machine.  After all those desperate attempts to salvage your kidneys, your urethra, your bladder.

“I’m peeing and pooping at the same time again,” you said to me.

“Ask your wife; she’ll know what I mean.”

Hi mom,

Don’t know where we left off, what what last I told you.  It’s been such a fraught week, even for its shortness (brevity?  your call).  L’s back to her plans for leaving the industry,  I’m procrastinating like I was in high school, and dad’s calling “just to shoot the shit.”

Well the shit’s been shit, & everything is V. WEIRD.

L said something that set me off _really_ missing you this evening.  Can’t even remember what it was, only asking her to stop, not in anger, but in grief.

It rolled over me so fast, I didn’t know what to do with it.  It made me realize that I’d been burying my feelings for this past week.

Let’s just call it this past week.


I wish I knew better where you were, who you were, so I could get some kind of guidance, here.  I’ve got too much shit in my hair.  I’ve got too much shit in my eyes.

As always, against all reason, I hope that you’re reading this (in spite of my handwriting), & feeling missed.

All my love,


PS I’m trying to find the joy in this, but I’m not certain where to look.  The closest thing I’ve found is the mural next door, juxtaposing the holes blown into that Orlando night club (you probably haven’t heard about this– I hope), with a rainbow flag created out of newspaper articles.

I’ll show you a picture.

Maybe the only way to fight tragedy is unity, like our time out there building your garden.

Maybe this is thin soup.

Maybe it’s time I go to bed.

Hi mom,


I’ll be honest with you.  I’m a little bit loaded right now, & don’t have too much to say.

Just, I miss you, & wish I could call you up & tell you all about my week.

That’s it.

Your son,



Good weekend, over here.  Trying my damnedest to forge relationships with L’s crazy friends, while understanding myself to be cut from the same solitary cloth my father was.


It make me wonder about how Eric and I grew up, in a way.  Whenever we asked what you or dad were up to, the standard response was, “What, are you writing a book?!”  I’m not blaming you or anything, but sometimes I wonder if we we ever really properly learned how to communicate as social creatures.

PS A moment today reminded me of the time here in Seattle, just before I brought Lauren home to meet you and dad.  We were at a bar– I can’t remember which– & I started blabbing with this guy who turned out to be a hospice worker for an AIDS clinic in the city.  We went back to his apartment, hung out with his twenty-something roommates, & met…


We all got stoned,& played around with those little monsters until it was time to head back to our crappy hotel.

There was something in that completely unexpected moment of sweetness & grace that makes me think of you– the time you got me that copy of Abbey Road, signaling the end of a rocky puberty, to getting stoned with you in grandpa and grandma’s den, back in Torrance.

Mom, if my story winds up ending well, it’s because you wrote it.

Love you,