Tag Archives: death


I turned 39 on June 2nd. It was a big deal for me.

My family, at the end of my 39th birthday weekend.

I’ve long dreaded turning 39. I think I was telling myself I was dreading turning 40, but that was a lie. I’m not afraid of 40 – I’m excited for it, actually. It’s a badge I’m anxious to earn. But I’ve been scared shitless of 39.

My father died when he was 39, you see. He did not have what most people would consider a “good death”. He was a young man with a wife and two small children – barely in his thirties – when he was given a devastating diagnosis. He and his mother were both diagnosed at nearly the exact same time, with the exact same cancer; they were each given just months to live. In hindsight, it’s very clear that both of their deaths could have been easily avoided by not subjecting them to radioactive, carcinogenic procedures to treat their (hereditary) thyroid conditions. But in the early 80s oncology was a fledgling field, ya know…

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Grandma Lucy has been laid to rest.

Her funeral was this past weekend in Michigan. I was insanely emotional through the entire thing, struggling to keep my wits about me. But I had a feeling that was coming; as I’ve already mentioned, this cruel dismantling of the most precious institution in my life – the marriage of my beloved grandparents – by fate or the universe or the forces of nature or WHATEVER has been hitting me harder than anticipated.

I want to record something of the funeral weekend, though. It was beautiful: filled with friends and family and heartfelt emotion, and a wonderful reminder of not only how special my grandmother was, but how loved the rest of us are, too. My cinematic grandfather, of course (whose incredible casket bouquet studded with rhinestones “to his beautiful bride” was the perfect exclamation point on the Sam + Lucy story), and also my mother. Continue reading

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Impossible Realities

RIP Lucia, 1923 - 2016

RIP Lucia, 1923 – 2016

It’s the end of an era. A great 20th century love story known as “Sam and Lucy.”

My grandmother died in the wee hours of yesterday morning: April 28, 2016. My whip-smart, beautiful, feisty, Sicilian grandmother, Lucia. She was in her own bed, and my grandfather held her in his arms until she turned to him and said “It’s time for me to go, Sammy.” Continue reading

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Family Matters

Burgess Eastwood passed away last week: Trent’s grandpa. He was 96 years old.

Trent watching Grandpa carve the turkey, Thanksgiving 2007.

Trent watching Grandpa carve the turkey, Thanksgiving 2007.

Trent has now lost both his grandma, Dorothy, and Burgess in the past year (they were married for 75 years, FYI). He was ready for it, but still, it’s no fun.  Continue reading

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Last Goodbye

We just left Dorothy’s funeral.


It was a good funeral – as good as a funeral can be. Trent did a fabulous job remembering his grandmother, embodying her best virtues, and leaving his family with the kind of wisdom she would have shared herself.

I know she is proud of him. The baby of the baby, become such a fine man.

Driving back to the hotel, across downtown San Antonio in the rain, Van Halen’s “Dreams” came on the radio. It’s a song I used to play for my team in high school, to get them pumped up before competition. We’d sit in a circle on the gym floor, holding hands, with our eyes closed, and envision all our dreams coming true to rockin’ 80s guitar riffs.

Trent knows that story. “We can’t be sad when DREAMS is on!” I said, blowing my nose and turning up the volume.

Actually, though, it turns out we can. And that’s okay.

We miss you, Grandma. We always will.

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