Archive for the ‘death’ Category


My missing Uncle

April 20, 2010

My father is one of seven children.

I have 2 aunts and 4 uncles on his side.

I have met 2 aunts and 3 uncles.

1 is dead.

JR is the one no one talks about.

No, that’s not entirely true.

JR is the one no one talks about, unless they slip and mention him in

“JR used to…” “JR always”

“JR would have liked you.”

My uncle died sometime between his 17th and 21st birthdays.

From what I can tell, at least, that’s when he died.

No one talks about him.

And I have a missing uncle.

I have a hole that no one is willing to fill.

I asked my mom once how he died, who he was, what had happened.

She told me she didn’t know.

No one talks about it.

My youngest uncle is starting a theater program.

He’s dedicating it to my uncle, his brother.

He sent an email to the family, explaining what the program would be.

He told about how it would be aimed at helping people; at helping people
with problems like addiction, depression, loss. Helping people through
Drama Therapy to express their problems and work through them.

It would be a program of heART.

He told about how he felt that his brother, who loved theater, would
have benefited from a program like this.

No one responded.

I never know what to say in situations where JR is brought up. I think
in part because I don’t know him, in any sense. I don’t know him and can’t
speak towards what would make a fitting tribute, or what he would like.

It’s an eerie silence, when people avoiding a topic are forced to look at it.

He wrote another email, asking if people were angry about what he said.

His second email said “I don’t know exactly what happened with our
brother, whether it was an accident or on purpose.”

I don’t think he meant to send it to me.

I have 4 uncles. I’ve met 3.

We don’t talk about the 4th one, and I don’t know why.

After writing this I once again asked my mom to tell me what happened. I know now, though it is not something I will be sharing. I can understand a lot better,  now, why no one wants to talk about what happened, but I still don’t feel that should be the same as not talking about HIM. I still wish I knew him.


Purple for Maddie

April 7, 2010

I am wearing the only purple I own today – a necklace with purple flowers.

It’s not a color I own a lot of.

It always seems too special, too regal and important for me.

I never met Maddie.

But I met Maddie, in the early summer of last year, through a link somewhere. I don’t remember where.

I spent almost the entire day reading back entries of The Spohrs are Multiplying, falling more and more in love with Maddie and her family, despite my timing.

I understood instantly her charisma and charm, why everyone loved her, and why everyone was so saddened.

I wasn’t just that a small child was gone, it was that a huge light had gone out.

She was so much.

And indescribable.

I’ve never said a word to Heather or Mike. I don’t know them and the shy person in me is still too shy to reach out and say “I’m so sorry. I never met you but I’m so so sorry.”

Those words wont ever do her justice, or them.

I can’t explain loving a child I’ve never met, and yet there are so many of us that do.

So I am wearing purple, for the sweet girl it is so strongly associated with now.

She was made of love, and she is missed.

Friends of Maddie


Margie, A Letter

October 13, 2009

“Dear Friends:

It is with great sadness that I write to tell you that at around 6 am today (Sunday), Margaret Wright passed away.  Her passing was peaceful and easy, and followed a very difficult 6 months, beginning with the loss of her beloved husband, Bob, and continuing through her battle with lung cancer.  She was lovingly cared for, and was, in her last days, comfortable and content in her choice that no more extraordinary efforts be applied to prolong her stay.

To my knowledge, there is no memorial planned at this point–Margaret considered the astonishing display of love shown at Bob’s celebration to be for her as well, but if I hear of anything I will let you know.  Following her directions, Margaret will be cremated and then she and Bob will together be placed alongside her son Rob, who predeceased them, in a lovely spot in Gold Country that the family wishes to remain private.  I do not have any information on where condolences may be sent, since the family is choosing to grieve privately, but I will see if I can get any information in the next few weeks, which I will, of course, pass on.

I was asked to convey to her “Faire Family,” just how much grateful she and Bob were for the love shown to them over many years, and how much they loved you all. Their passing leaves a huge hole, and one that will forever remain unfilled.

I apologize for doing this via e-mail, but it seemed the most efficient way.  Please feel free to pass this on to anyone who needs or wants to know.

Love to you all,


Margie and Bob Wright were friends of my parents long before I was born. Growing up, my sister and I both had beautiful hand cross-stitched Christmas stockings – the loving work of Margie. Mine depicted the house I was born in perfect lovely detail with Santa Claus and his reindeer flying overhead in a starry sky. My sisters had each of the verses from the 12 days of Christmas stitched out in detail; the maids a milking and the lords a leaping. Each of the stockings would be filled with the treats Santa had left us.

My sister would dump out her stocking and look at her prizes.

I would dump out my stocking and read the letter Margie had written that lived in the toe.

It talked about how amazingly happy they were that I had been born, about how beautiful they thought I was, about how much they loved me.

Christmas to me has always been that stocking, Margie’s letter, and the Wrights love.

When Bob died earlier this year, I told my mother how badly I felt. Id been meaning to write them a letter telling them how much the stocking had meant to me, how much I loved it and them – people I have no memory of meeting. I had been meaning to do it for weeks and months and years and hadn’t.

I told her I would write to Margie and tell her how sorry I was about Bob and how much I appreciated the gift and letter, and how much I loved her.

I never did.

The guilt I felt when Bob died about not writing the letter has come back tenfold. Part of the problem was that I just didn’t know what to write. What do you say to a woman you don’t remember meeting 20 years down the line after her husband dies, I asked myself.

Now it seems so stupid that I couldn’t find words to tell her how I felt. So I will do so now:


my name is Kathryn. You knew my parents when they were younger. I’m sorry its taken me so long to write you. Im not a bad letter writer, I just dont want to say the wrong thing I guess.

I want to tell you how very sorry I am to hear about Bob, to begin with. From what I hear, and feel, he was a wonderful man and I cried very hard when I heard he had passed. I cant imagine what youre feeling but please know I love him very much and that I am so so sorry.

I have no memory of meeting you. None. But when I saw a picture of you from the Wake, without your name or someone telling me, I knew it was you. I cant tell you how I knew, and it’s not because you were the only face I didn’t know, but I could tell. And I loved it all the more.

Thank you for my stocking. I guess that should have come out sooner (20 years sooner). I love it. Christmas isn’t Christmas without it. One year dad couldnt find it and I almost boycotted. Luckily he did, and Christmas continued. I want to tell you that I read the letter you wrote me every year and give it a kiss. I don’t know if you can tell that I’m sending you kisses, but I do. I really do love it a lot. Hopefully when my kids have stockings they’ll be as full of love as mine is.

Margie, I’m so sorry I didn’t send this letter when you were alive. I didn’t mean to delay but I didn’t know how to say what I wanted to say. Now it seems stupid that a letter telling you I appreciate and love you was at all hard to write.

Without knowing you, I love you. And Bob. Please give my love to him as well.

When dad called and told me that you had died I sobbed as hard as I did when I heard about Bob. Harder because Ive always felt closer to you than to him because of the letter. Not that I love him less, I was just less aware of the love I felt for him than I am of the love I feel for you. I hope that makes sense. It’s a gut-wrenching feeling that I’m sure you’re very aware of, but it never stops hurting.

Trying to explain to people how losing you and Bob makes me feel is really hard. It seemed easiest to just describe you as my grandma (I hope you dont mind).

I miss you already.

Im sorry.

I love you.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.