Marathon Bombings Show Randomness of Who Lives, Who Dies

Randomness. That word sticks in my mind in the aftermath of the bombings near the Boston Marathon finish line. The randomness of it all when it came to who was injured and who was not, who died and who survived. The randomness of who decided to watch the marathon that day and who chose instead to spend a day at a beach, a zoo, or Revolutionary War reenactments. Continue reading

Comfort the Parents – and – Siblings of Newtown Victims

No one can fathom the kind of grief the parents of those 20 children – or the six adults killed in the same school shooting – will experience in the weeks, months, and years to come. No one, too, should try to second-guess how the tragedy will affect the victims’ siblings. Continue reading

Naming a Son for a Brother Who Died Young


Summary: Choosing a name for our unborn son stirred up the past for my husband and me. I wrote an essay about that struggle for The New York Times Motherlode blog. The piece was published on July 29, 2012, and stems partly from a chapter in the memoir I’m writing about journeying through grief and finding faith after the loss of my brother. Click on link below to read the piece.

Read the article.

Reaction: The story drew more than … Continue reading

Happy 50th Birthday to a Brother Who Died Long Ago


August 7, 2012

Today my brother Kevin would have turned 50. Killed in a car accident at age 23, Kevin has been dead longer than he lived.

In 23 years, he did a lot of living. Since he would have been 50, here are 50 things I remember about my brother. They are a random set of remembrances, most from me, some passed along over the years from relatives and friends. Together, they may give others a sense of the young man, teenager, and boy he was.

Hit That Record Button, Preserve Loved Ones’ Voices

The voices of our loved ones hold incredible power of us. I realized just how much when a friend of late brother said he had found a tape with my brother’s voice. Then the friend couldn’t find the tape. I wrote an essay about this for a magazine, and readers wrote back their own stories. Everyone, I suspect, has a story to tell about voice and its hold on them. Continue reading

Finding Courage to Write about Faith

Religion is a touchy subject in America. It’s a touchy topic within families. It’s just plain touchy to talk about religion whether you’re a Jew, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, or atheist. I look back at 2011 and realize that it was the year when I found the courage to write more deeply and publicly than ever before about my own Jewish faith. Continue reading

Mourners Share Powerful Experience on Shavuot


Is there a statute of limitations on mourning? I wavered as I sat in my car in the temple parking lot. It was 8:45 a.m., and for the first time, I planned to attend a Yizkor service on Shavuot, a Jewish holiday I usually ignored. There was one other car in the temple lot. Perhaps I should just drive away, run errands, and get my daily overpriced cup of iced chai at Starbucks. My brother died nearly 25 years ago. Did I belong among the mourners that would gather in … Continue reading