Dealing with life

Surviving the Persistence of Time

by Bill Brenner August 26, 2015 Dealing with life

Here I am at another birthday. I’ve been telling people I couldn’t care less this year. It’s been a rough summer with too much upheaval, too much grief. There’s not much to celebrate. But the truth is, I’m grateful to be here. Mood music: That I’m now in my mid 40s is surprising — in my mind, at least. When I was sick with Crohn’s Disease as a kid, I lost a lot of blood…  [Read More]

A 6-Step Grief Survival Guide

by Bill Brenner July 21, 2015 Dealing with life

Having lost more friends and family than I care to count, I’ve tried writing posts over the years that make sense of grief. Or, at least, how I’ve worked through mine. Mood music: With the loss of my aunt and my father in the past month, I find myself thinking about those older writings. So I assembled this list. Its first purpose is to help me keep my perspective and regain my equilibrium. The second purpose,…  [Read More]

Thank You All

by Bill Brenner July 1, 2015 Dealing with life

My family is overwhelmed and grateful for the massive outpouring of support and kind words in the wake of Dad’s death. I’ve heard from so many of you on my Facebook timeline, in private messages on Twitter and by phone. Mood music: I’ve written a lot about these final weeks with my father. I hope readers have taken it in the spirit I meant to get across — that while grief and loss is hard, there’s…  [Read More]

When the Worry Machine Takes You to Dark Places

by Bill Brenner April 14, 2015 Dealing with life

My father and aunt aren’t doing well. Dad is bedridden, a series of strokes and heart attacks having taken their toll. My aunt is in the hospital unable to do anything more than utter a stray word after having her own stroke. And so continues a sick game, where we try guessing how much longer they’ll be with us, who will go first, etc. That’s the game I’m playing anyway. When you’re like me and…  [Read More]

Kurt Cobain’s Suicide Note on a T-Shirt

by Bill Brenner January 22, 2015 Dealing with life

Online marketplace Etsy caused a kerfuffle recently by selling shirts emblazoned with the suicide note of the late Kurt Cobain. Etsy and other e-commerce sites have since pulled the shirts from their virtual shelves, but the big question remains: Who in their right mind would wear such a thing? Mood music: To be fair, some would wear it to make a statement about depression. But most kids just want to shock people. I know, because…  [Read More]

The Business Is Over, But Its Legacy Lives On

by Bill Brenner January 20, 2015 Dealing with life

Those who knew me growing up remember the family business, especially the blue-and-gold building on Route 1 in Saugus across from Kappy’s Liquors. The business is closed, but it leaves a lasting legacy. Mood music: I’ve been helping my father manage the realty trust that’s been part of the family business, with the objective of selling the building. His eyesight is bad, so I frequently read documents aloud to him. Yesterday was one of those…  [Read More]

Woe-Is-Me Disease

by Bill Brenner December 18, 2014 Dealing with life

A funny thing about us OCD-addict types: When the going gets tough, we blame it on someone else. Call it the Woe-Is-Me Disease, where the sufferer is an eternal victim, forever screwed by everyone but themselves. Mood music: We all have people like that in our lives. They are clinically incapable of seeing their own role in the thing that goes wrong. It’s always someone else’s fault. They whine a lot, and when you suggest…  [Read More]

To the Cop Who Stopped Dimebag’s Killer

by Bill Brenner December 9, 2014 Dealing with life

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the murder of Pantera/Damageplan guitarist Darrell Lance Abbott. For metalheads like me, the loss of “Dimebag Darrell” was painful. But for James Niggemeyer, the cop who stopped shooter Nathan Gale before he could kill anyone else, life has been hell. Mood music: More people almost certainly would have died that night at Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, where Damageplan was just beginning to play as the shooting started. Jeff “Mayhem” Thompson, the band’s head…  [Read More]

Nobody Likes a Peever

by Bill Brenner December 4, 2014 Dealing with life

I’m all for vigorous debate. If I write something you think is bullshit, I want your criticism. The resulting discussion means we walk away a little smarter. But if all you want to do is show how smart you are and how stupid the other person is, you’re not being a good debater or critic, you’re just being a peever And nobody likes a peever. Mood music: As a longtime writer and editor, I’ve found no…  [Read More]

I’m a Relapsed People Pleaser

by Bill Brenner December 2, 2014 Dealing with life

I’ve had an epiphany about my recent depression — a realization so brutally simple that I feel stupid for not seeing it sooner. I’ve been miserable in part because I fell back into a habit I knew was corrosive. I once wrote a post about overcoming it. That made me feel even more like a chump, because this thing I had overcome was back, whipping me again. And I didn’t see it coming. I relapsed into people pleasing. Mood music:…  [Read More]