Tag Archive: Death


This was inspired by the following writing prompt. You are given the opportunity to talk to one dead person and tell him/her one thing that you didn’t get to before they passed away. Who would you pick and what would you tell him (or her, of course)? If you have a similar story, please share below.


Without a doubt, if there was one person no longer living that I could have one more conversation with it would be my mother. My mom passed away December 11, 1998. As cliché as it is to say, I can’t believe it’s been so long since she left. I was a 16 year old boy when she died and today I’m 28 year old man. Quite a lot has changed since then and unfortunately quite a few things remain the same.

One of the many things I’m thankful for was my mom passing down her love of music. As a kid the last thing I wanted to do was practice the piano, play drums in the band, or sit through my sister’s singing and piano recitals. Going to plays and other musical shows weren’t my idea of fun either, but I went and while I was distracted with my own complaining the appreciation for all types of music was brewing in my subconscious.

Through her, I learned to relate to life through lyrics. I can remember my mom telling my brother and sister and I when various songs reminded her of us.  The songs sticking out right now are Ballerina Girl by Lionel Ritchie being my sister’s song and Todd Rundgren’s Bang on the Drum All Day being mine.

Another song that reminded my mom of me was Tori Amos’s Winter. The album this song was on released in February of 1992. I wasn’t even 10 years old yet, but somehow she was able to see what kind of person I had the potential to grow into. As a kid, I had no idea what the lyrics meant. All I knew was that they sounded pretty and my mom liked them and that was good enough for me. It’s scary to see how accurate my mom was now that I’m old enough to understand the message behind this song. It’s also very disheartening that the fear she had as a parent ended up coming to fruition.

Some of my favorite lyrics from this song are below:

When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast

When I read those lyrics and I think about my mom telling me they remind her of me as a 10 year old boy it’s a bit shocking. All she wanted was for me to learn to love myself. At 28, I’m afraid I’m still as far away from getting to where she wanted me to be as I was 18 years ago. I’ve never thought highly enough of myself. No matter what I was doing I never gave my all because I knew someone would be better.  I was content to sit on the bench in sports, get C’s in school, and watch girls end up with guys that wouldn’t treat them right all because I was convinced nobody would ever pick me or that I couldn’t be the best.

Hair is gray and the fire is burning
So many dreams on the shelf
You say I wanted you to be proud of me
I always wanted that myself

And here I am, 28, single, college graduate, good job, and I still have no idea what I want. Or maybe I do know what I want but I’m afraid to go for it. I’m afraid to put myself out there and be let down and hurt again. I’m really trying to reach that break through point. I’m doing almost everything “they” tell you to do to get out of the rut I’m in. But I’m still stuck.

If I could talk to my mom one more time, there isn’t any one thing I’d want to tell her. She knew I loved her. But if I could talk to my mom just once more I’d want to ask her a simple question. Am I going to be okay? There is nothing on earth I’ll ever miss more than my mother’s reassurance. My mother is the one person that always believed in me no matter what.

I hear a voice you must learn to stand up
For yourself cause I can’t always be around

Eighteen years after she originally told me about this song, I finally realize what she was trying to say. I can’t keep waiting for my mom to come around and tell me everything is going to be okay. She isn’t here anymore. I need to be strong enough to stand up for myself and go for the things I want. The only person that ever needs to believe in me is me. And if there is something I want out of life, it’s up to me to grab it myself.

Mom, I bet you didn’t think telling 10 year old me about this weird Tori Amos song was going to have much impact on me. You probably thought it was going to go in one ear and out the other. But I remembered. I can even remember the parking lot we were sitting in when you told me. Thank you so much for being the mom you were. I’m still learning new things from you all the time even if you aren’t here talking to me.

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This was inspired by a writing prompt asking us to choose between yesterday and tomorrow, which would we pick and why? If you have a similar story, please share below.

To choose between yesterday and tomorrow, at first glance, seems like a decision that I should be able to make rather easily. The kings of cliché would have you believe that the only way to live is with an eye towards the future. And while there is truth to that statement, who you are tomorrow is determined by the decisions you made yesterday. The “you” that exists inside your mind is formed from years and years of experiences that happened in the past. Without yesterday, “you” don’t exist.

Though, the other side of that argument is that without tomorrow we run out of opportunities to live through new experiences and no longer have the ability to progress any further in our development. The thought of never growing beyond where I am today is one of the scariest thoughts I can possibly envision. My sole purpose for being is to continually grow as a person. Learning about myself and my place in the world is one of the most satisfying parts of my life and something I would hate to see come to a halt.

The best days of my life happened quite a few years ago. From day 1 until age 16, I’m pretty sure I lived one of the best lives a human can possibly ask for. When I see the way the majority of people grow up I almost feel bad when I compare my upbringing to those of others. How I was so lucky is beyond me, but it’s something I remind myself to be thankful for as often as I can. My family life was literally picture perfect. I had a fantastic mom, a dad who provided way beyond our needs, a brother and sister that always had my back, and grandparents who loved me beyond anything I can imagine. Even my aunts, uncles, and cousins were great.  Somehow, I found ways to complain about damn near everything at that point in my life, but when I look back I can’t remember a single time where I was anything less than happy.

In more recent times things have changed a bit. The picture perfect family I once had still exists, but at least from my point of view, it’s a bit fractured these days. My mom passed away when I was 16, my relationship with my dad isn’t nearly what it should be, and the tight knit unity my family once had is less than I remember.  That’s not to say I’m living in some shattered universe where every day is a hard day, but the happy days are surrounded by many average days, and at times a few days make appearances and muddy up the whole picture. If you believe in the ebb and flow of life, as I do, then maybe the wave I’m on now is a way of balancing out the overabundance of luck I had to start life off with.

Don’t feel bad for me. I don’t. Even though the best days of my life were long ago, the hope that tomorrow will bring me something close to what I experienced as a kid is what keeps me going. Every day I wake up, I do my best to continue observing my actions and the decisions I make, and try to grow into the kind of person I can respect. I’m looking for things, people, and a myriad other things all the time just waiting for that day when everything comes together again. And while I miss yesterday and respect the fact that I’m “me” because of all those experiences, I’d choose tomorrow every time if I had the opportunity.  If I’m not growing, I’m not living and staying stuck in the past is no life for me.

This was inspired by a writing prompt asking us to describe the worst fight we’ve ever had with a parent. If you have a similar story, share a link below.

For most of my life I’ve considered myself a laid-back type of guy. There weren’t too many things you could throw at me that I couldn’t find a way to brush of my shoulder and move on with my day like nothing ever happened.

One of the worst arguments I’ve ever had with one of my parents happened when I was 16. It was February 1999 and only two months earlier my mom had passed away. Like almost every Saturday of my teens I was upstairs in the “TV Room” lounging on the couch watching what else but TV when the phone rang.  After debating if it was worth the effort to sit up and answer the phone for a call I knew wasn’t meant for me, I decided to pick up the phone.

“Hello.”

“Is your Dad there?” a voice of a man I’m not familiar with says with a less than friendly tone.

“No, I’m not sure where he is.”

“This is _______, Suzie’s boyfriend. Tell him to call me when he gets home.”

Right away I knew what was going on. My dad was dating and my lifelong equanimity was gone.

I remember my heart sinking to the bottom of my stomach and not knowing what to do. For the next 10 minutes I paced the upstairs of my house going from my brother’s room, to my room, to the TV room and back again waiting for my Dad to come home.

Do I say something? Should I be mad? What are my grandparents going to think when they find out my Dad is dating a new woman? What will my brother and sister think about this? Is this woman’s boyfriend going to stock my dad and hurt him?

I had so many questions running through my mind and nobody to talk too. Unfortunately, that was a feeling that would become par for the course over the next few years in that house.

Eventually my dad made it back home from doing whatever it was he was doing. Sitting there with all those questions inside of my mind and no way to release them led to a feeling of panic and desperation. Anyone with a working knowledge of psychology can tell you those two feelings bottled up will only lead to one thing….anger. I was a bottle of diet soda waiting for someone to drop a roll of mentos inside of me.

I made my way downstairs into the kitchen to find my dad and try to figure out what the hell was going on.

“Dad, some guy called here today asking for you and he sounded pretty mad.”

“Did he say who it was?” he answered, the nervousness showing on his face.

“Yeah, he said he was Suzie’s boyfriend and he needed to talk to you.”

My dad was caught and he knew it. Instead of owning up to the situation, he decided to keep quiet and hope I would drop the conversation. But there was no way I was walking away from the conversation without finding out what was going on.

“Why is this guy calling the house dad?”

“I asked Suzie to go see a movie as friends and her ex-boyfriend doesn’t like it. He’s been calling her house too.”

Right then and there I had all the information I needed and the aforementioned mentos were dropped. Every ounce of anger, sadness, and pain that I had held in since my mother passed away came out in the worst way possible over the next few minutes.

“Why do you need to go the movies with another woman?” I screamed, the rage taking over. My voice began to quiver, tears rolled from my eyes, and my body began to quake.

“It’s just a movie and it’s only as friends.”

“Who cares? Mom just died two months ago. Why do you need friends so bad all of the sudden? What about us?”, I asked, referring to my brother and sister and I.

“Everyone needs friends.”

“What do you need friends for? You’re an old man. You have kids to think about. And why are you dating someone you work with? What about your rule about not hiring anyone you know from your personal life? Did that rule go out the window when my mom died and you decided you needed “friends”? I thought I had him there, but there was no end to this mess in sight.

“You don’t know what it’s like to be 41 years old and by yourself. I need a friend…someone to talk to”.

It must have went on for twenty minutes…me, screaming my heart out and my dad yelling back about his unyielding desire for friendship he had held in for all of two months.

My heart hurt beyond belief. When you are 16 and your mother dies, two months is no time at all to cope with the pain. Everyday was something different I had to deal with. No longer was my mom in the kitchen when I got home from basketball practice asking how my day was. In those two months I had to adjust to coming home to an empty house. I hadn’t even begun to heal and here my dad goes and starts dating someone.

Eleven years later and I still haven’t forgiven my dad for the things I learned that day. This December he marries the woman he decided he needed to be friends with. Should I be happy for my dad? Maybe.  I’ve tried ignoring the problem, the woman he dated, my dad, I’ve gone to psychotherapy, and tried countless other methods to help move beyond this issue.

Without a doubt this is the hardest problem I’ve ever had to deal with. I was a kid with a heart I thought couldn’t be broken any further only to have my dad rip out whatever was left and step all over it.  When I picked the phone up that day I didn’t think that was the beginning of a dilemma that would haunt me for the next decade and who knows how many more years into the future.

Every great thing my dad ever did was overshadowed from that point on. Lately, I’ve been asking myself if the fight is with my dad or within my own mind. He’s happy and ready to start a new life with someone that makes his days a little easier. And me, I go back and forth inside my mind wondering if I even want to do something as simple as making a phone to see how my dad is doing. This laid-back kind of guy isn’t so easygoing anymore.