It has been five-and-a-half months since my dad died and yet it sometimes feels like it hasn’t hit me yet. Even though his ashes are sitting in a box in my apartment. He had been absent from my day-to-day life for years, our interactions limited, at their most intimate, to Skype. Then we stopped talking. And then eight months later, he died. After the initial shock, my day-to-day life didn’t seem to be that different. I was used to not speaking to him, and had long ago resigned myself to not seeing him again. I couldn’t figure out how to grieve. Keep reading »
When Kerry Drake found out his mother was dying from complications from rheumatoid arthritis, he booked the first flight he could from San Francisco to Lubbock, Texas. The only problem? There were no direct flights, and the United Airlines flights he booked only allowed for a 40 minute layover. On the first leg of his flight — from San Fran to Houston — Drake broke out in tears, devastated that he might not make his connecting flight and miss his chance to see his mother one last time.
Stewardesses noticed his tears and asked him what was wrong. He explained his dilemma, and then they did something amazing…
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In the few days following my dad’s passing a few weeks ago, I received flowers from friends and coworkers, endless phone calls, emails and Facebook messages expressing condolences, and more than a few people offering to help in any way they could. It was wonderful and comforting, to be sure, and would, I thought, keep me going as I set about tying up all the loose ends of my father’s “estate,” something I assumed would take a few weeks to a month, at most.
Well, a little over a week has passed, the flowers have dried, the calls have died down, and people have rightfully moved on. But, I’m realizing, the shitshow is just beginning for me. I don’t know what I was thinking, assuming that settling my dad’s affairs would be a simple process, but it’s far from it. He didn’t have a will. I won’t have a death certificate for a few weeks, at which point I can then finally establish myself as the executor of his estate, which hopefully no one will contest. (You hear that, uncle of mine?) In the meantime, his house languishes in rural Hawaii, already two months behind on the mortgage payments. The unofficial “tenants” my dad had let stay there over the years have the run of the place; I’ve heard that they’ve already begun selling off his more valuable possessions (there aren’t many) like his TV. And I can’t do anything about it because Hawaii’s tenant laws allow any old person to establish residency in a home by spending a few nights somewhere. Seriously! Crash at someone’s house for a weekend and it’s suddenly your place! I will have to formally evict people who never paid a month’s rent from my dad’s home, as they sell off belongings I can’t even prove are his. It’s a nightmare. Keep reading »
I turned 20 years old this year, and with that birthday came the 10th anniversary of my father’s death. This past decade has given me plenty of space and time to orchestrate my thoughts about losing a parent.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a magical secret to healing. I wish I did. Still, what I can do is let you know what I’ve learned since 2002. I’m going to speak in terms of losing a parent, but, really, almost everything I say can apply to the loss of anyone you love. Keep reading »
Today would have been my father’s 65th birthday. He died this past Thursday, in his sleep, after a 15-year battle with drug addiction and untreated mental illness. I found out on Friday, my 33rd birthday. The last time I heard from my dad was two weeks prior to his death, in an email sent from an internet cafe in Hilo, Hawaii, the town near where he lived. The power was out at his house and had been for two months, because he couldn’t pay his bill. I hadn’t spoken to him, or written to him, or acknowledged him at all since March. Our relationship was, over the years, wonderful and difficult and horrible and bittersweet. He taught me many things and helped shape the person I am today. I’m overwhelmed with sadness, but also relieved that he won’t be in, or cause, pain anymore. Keep reading »
Experts say a New Zealand woman’s 2-gallon-a-day Coca-Cola habit probably contributed to her death, a conclusion that led the soft-drink giant to note that even water can be deadly in excessive amounts.
Natasha Harris, a 30-year-old, stay-at-home mother of eight from Invercargill, died of a heart attack in February 2010. Fairfax Media reported that a pathologist, Dr. Dan Mornin, testified at an inquest Thursday that she probably suffered from hypokalemia, or low potassium, which he thinks was caused by her excessive consumption of Coke and overall poor nutrition. Read more…
Sometimes when I am sitting in a Starbucks on my lunch break, I will remember sitting there with Joey* nine years ago. I will see my 20-something self a few tables over, leaning forward towards him, my cheeks flushed. I will see my hands flailing through the air as I talk to him about my acting classes and ideas I have for future projects. I will see him looking sideways at me, biting his bottom lip, trying not to smile.
Sometimes when I find myself in the subway station a block from where he used to live, I will feel my feet hitting the concrete of the platform, and imagine his feet tracing those same steps over and over again on his daily routine. I will walk through his neighborhood and picture us walking together, our bodies so close I could feel the heat pass between our arms, but not quite letting them touch. Keep reading »
“It’s not really a shock.” When a famous person dies from causes related to drug or alcohol addiction, this, or something similar, is one of the more common responses people have. While there are plenty of crueler things people can and do say, this bored and blase lack of surprise over the death of a human being tends to bother me the most.
That is because my father is an addict. He’s been an addict my entire life. And to not be shocked by someone’s death at the hands of addiction would mean I would have to have to reached some sort of placid acceptance that my dad will also inevitably suffer the same fate — that his getting “better” is out of the question. Keep reading »
I’m sure very few of you are considering what you’ll look like at your funerals (those of you who are, you are very creepy). But just in case, Brit cosmetics company Illamasqua has partnered with London funeral home Leverton & Sons to provide makeup looks to take you into the afterlife. Their reasoning for opening up to the funeral market? According to their blog:
Illamasqua encourages people to self-express and embrace their alter ego in every way – why should this be any different when you pass away? It is a celebration of life, and one that should be indulged for your last glamorous look. The rite of passage to the afterlife has been of central importance to human culture for thousands of years. To have the best mahogany, the finest lining, the best stallions [ED NOTE: the best stallions???] … are today chosen in tribute to the life lived. To wear the most fabulous makeup applied by a professionally trained makeup artist for your final journey is the ultimate statement of celebration.
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