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

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.

Yearning to Hear My Brother’s Voice


Summary: The Boston Globe Magazine on May 27, 2012, published my essay about how it was so hard to remember my brother’s voice, though I could remember so much more. musings about whether to keep or toss my Mel Gibson DVDS, given the actor’s continued anti-Semitic rants. It ran as a Connections column.

Reaction: The story prompted several letters to the editor, and many readers responded by writing about their own experiences with loss and memory.

Read the article.

Scheduling Remembrance: Sometimes Life Gets in Way

I grew up ignorant of the structure my religion offers mourners. Singing in temple choirs and attending Shabbat services gave me my first lessons about Jewish remembrance. I noticed the people who stood to hear the names of those they had lost – spouses, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. Today, I am no longer so ignorant of my faith’s rituals. But, I confess, it’s not always easy to stop life and remember. Continue reading

Jewish Ritual Smooths Salve on Long-Ago Loss

Ignorant of my faith, I could not turn to Judaism when my brother died 25 years ago. Ritual was not a part of my upbringing, and it lingered in the shadows through my 20s and most of my 30s. Only in the last decade have I started to follow the path that Judaism sets for mourners. Jewish ritual now smooths salve on the long-ago wound. Continue reading

How Many Siblings Do You Have? It’s a Tough Question for Some of Us.


“How many brothers and sisters do you have?” That question, so routine, is jarring for some of us. Too early in life, we lost a sister or brother.

I lost my brother Kevin 24 years ago. I have lived as many years without him as I did with him. And yet when someone asks me how many siblings I have, I still pause. Do I say I have one brother and stop there? Or, do I answer that I have one brother, but I had another one?