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23

Aug

Over the past few days since my mom died I’ve thought about passages from ‘Splitting the Difference.’ I know I’m not the first to tell you this, but your ability to clearly and raw-ly describe grief and healing has been a help. Your book is normalizing the experience for me, which is oh-so-important. Thanks for all you do.
— E. D., Brooklyn

20

Aug

When you’re bursting with news that you can’t share because agents/lawyers/contracts, so you share a real-time selfie instead. 

When you’re bursting with news that you can’t share because agents/lawyers/contracts, so you share a real-time selfie instead. 

14

Aug

Celebrating this man—the myths and the memories—over midtown dinner tonight with Alberto’s sister and family. The birthday ritual of August 14th shapes and shifts each year, and this one finds us getting the band together. Though the seat beside me is not filled by the person who made this calendar date a remarkable one, his goddaughter in a tangerine tutu is a damn good understudy. 

Celebrating this man—the myths and the memories—over midtown dinner tonight with Alberto’s sister and family. The birthday ritual of August 14th shapes and shifts each year, and this one finds us getting the band together. Though the seat beside me is not filled by the person who made this calendar date a remarkable one, his goddaughter in a tangerine tutu is a damn good understudy. 

13

Aug

Only in NYC is the Craig’s List buyer for your vintage luggage also a principal actor on The Newsroom. 

Only in NYC is the Craig’s List buyer for your vintage luggage also a principal actor on The Newsroom. 

05

Aug

I intend to do a proper review on my Tumblr, but ‘Splitting the Difference’ was just as incredible as I hoped it would be. Never, ever, ever stop writing!
— Catherine, Colorado (catherine)

04

Aug

Summer of Academia

Two weeks ago, I gleefully accompanied my Grad-Student-Mom to NYU for her student I.D. 

This week, I’ve been at Laurie’s side for the undergrad ritual in Charleston.

My proximity to these milestone moments in the lives of the two women I most love gives me all the prides and joys.

03

Aug

Just encountered the reverse equivalent of a parent displaying their kid’s art scribbles on the fridge: Laurie’s Wall of Fame in her new place with my published essays all about her. 

Just encountered the reverse equivalent of a parent displaying their kid’s art scribbles on the fridge: Laurie’s Wall of Fame in her new place with my published essays all about her. 

02

Aug

Riding Not-Shotgun (Because Two Seat Belts & Three People)

Riding Not-Shotgun (Because Two Seat Belts & Three People)

01

Aug

Cuddle puddle with Laurie & her BFF on Moving Day Eve. 

Cuddle puddle with Laurie & her BFF on Moving Day Eve. 

31

Jul

Then & Now

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I had no idea how to be a mom to Laurie 20 years ago, but at this particular moment in her life, my skill set actually speaks to her needs.

While I wasn’t the one who enrolled her in kindergarten, I can now help her navigate the student-loan process.

Never buckled her into a car seat, but I’m renting the U-Haul truck to move her and her BFF across Charleston.

Never gave her a bath, but I can now scrub her first apartment clean enough for the landlord to return her security deposit.

Didn’t set up her crib, but I can pick up her new queen-size bed and buy her a corresponding set of sheets.

I wasn’t the one who monitored how much TV she watched as a kid, but I can spend 90 minutes on hold with Comcast to transfer her service to a new address.

As I’m rescheduling property inspections with landlords and bubble-wrapping her dishes, she bounces into the kitchen with my tape gun and a grin.

Tré, have I told you today how glad I am that you’re here?

Have I told you, Laurie, how much this parallel-universe-of-a-week means to me?

28

Jul

Sushi Monday in Chucktown with my favorite girl in the world!

Sushi Monday in Chucktown with my favorite girl in the world!

26

Jul

Only 1 more sleep until Charleston with Laurie Rae! 

Only 1 more sleep until Charleston with Laurie Rae! 

25

Jul

Storage Serenade

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The 60-pound club chair that Alberto stored to make room for my vintage L.A. furniture. A tattered French boudoir chair of his that I never asked about. Tennis rackets I never saw him use. Boxes of polos and swim trunks that never saw Summer 2009. All of these things—along with my own share of unused artifacts—no longer live in the basement storage units of my building.

This week they went home with strangers from Craig’s List, to the Salvation Army on Eighth Avenue, and to the rubbish room. There isn’t an impending move to a new apartment. No boyfriend to thank (or blame) for the purge. Just a gradual awareness that these things no longer define Alberto or obligate me. And that the monthly storage expense could be more wisely spent.

My mother’s timely visit to NYC means not only a pair of helping hands, it means hands belonging to someone who understands if I stop and sob now and then. Or share the story that goes with that gallon of paint before tossing it. It also means I have a witness when a plastic storage bin suddenly starts playing a Sinatra song.

Ssshh, Tré—listen! Do you hear that?

I do…it’s ‘Night and Day.’

Is it coming from your phone?

No, it’s coming from…that box.

We lean toward the sound, absorbing lyrics.

Night and day, you are the one.
Only you beneath the moon or under the sun.
Whether near to me, or far,
It’s no matter darling where you are.
I think of you.

Wow, she says, wiping her eyes.

For a moment, I see this scene as Mom is seeing it: music strongly associated with her daughter’s late husband is inexplicably coming from a 20-gallon bin during the clean-out of said husband’s storage unit.

I kinda wish I didn’t know the source of the sound.

Wish I could pretend it isn’t coming from a motion-activated Christmas ornament, which my Dad gave to Alberto and me.

But I do know, and so I confess.

Well, Mom says, that Christmas ornament’s got good timing. You’re keeping it, right?

Hell yeah.

All afternoon, as we sort and shift and stack, the bin serenades us. By the ninth or tenth rendition, I find myself humming along, mixing around the words until they sound less like a sentimental track from my past and more like a present-tense affirmation:

Near or far

No matter darling

Where all our things are

I think of you.

22

Jul

Just found your blog and memoir, and wanted to thank you for all that you write about. I have been incessantly searching the word ‘grief’ on Tumblr to find some words of wisdom since someone I loved died in February.
Although I’ve dealt with sudden deaths of close family and friends, I had never coped before with terminal illness in someone with whom I am in love. His death has affected me more than any before him, which seems to bring along extra feelings of guilt.
Your writing is already helping me, and I’m so glad to see it’s helping countless others. Also, you’ve inspired me to start using Tumblr again.
— Linda, Australia ()

19

Jul

Forty-five minutes into “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” we forget that we are watching Audra McDonald. We are transfixed and transported to Philadelphia in 1959, listening to the ghost of Billie Holiday croon and confess and rage.

Forty-five minutes into “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” we forget that we are watching Audra McDonald. We are transfixed and transported to Philadelphia in 1959, listening to the ghost of Billie Holiday croon and confess and rage.