Grief management

I Haven’t Begun to Grieve

by Bill Brenner April 20, 2016 Grief management

In recent months, I’ve had a sour attitude. My eating has been erratic, I’ve barely exercised or picked up the guitar, and I have far less patience for people than usual. I’ve come to realize the reason. I haven’t really been dealing with the emotional scar of losing my father last year. Mood music: I thought I was. I dove headfirst into the task of untangling his unfinished business interests, specifically managing the building that housed…  [Read More]

Pearl Harbor Reflection: Why Does God Let This Happen?

by Bill Brenner December 7, 2015 Faith

I know some people who hate God right now. One lost a child to illness. Several have simply had a bad run of luck in recent years. They can’t understand why an all-loving God lets bad things happen to them. I used to be there: When my brother died or when my friend Sean Marley  died. In the aftermath of those events, I wasn’t on speaking terms with God. At other points in my life, like my struggle…  [Read More]

Two Days, Three Shitty Anniversaries And One Bloody Month

by Bill Brenner April 19, 2015 Crime and punishment

Today — April 19, and tomorrow, April 20 — we have a trio of tragedies to remember. Full disclosure: I’m about to steal liberally from Wikipedia. April 19, 1993: Waco, Texas The Waco siege began on February 28, 1993, and ended violently 50 days later on April 19. The siege began when the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), accompanied by several members of the media, attempted to execute a search warrant at the Branch Davidian ranch at Mount Carmel,…  [Read More]

Heavy Metal Saved Me

by Bill Brenner February 2, 2015 Coping tools

I am your main man, if you’re looking for trouble. I’ll take no lip, no one’s tougher than me. I kicked your face you’d soon be seeing double. Hey little girl, keep your hands off of me…I’m a rocker. “The Rocker,” by Thin Lizzy A lot of people are amused to learn about my musical tastes. My work space at home and the office is cluttered with political and history-based trinkets, which would leave one…  [Read More]

The Lost Generation of Revere, Mass.

by Bill Brenner November 22, 2014 Addiction

An old friend from the Point of Pines, Revere, sent me a note some time ago. He came across my post on Zane Mead and another on the Bridge Rats gang. For him, they brought up more memories of kids from the neighborhood who died young. Mood music: I’ll keep his name and certain details out to protect his privacy, but here’s some of what he wrote to me: I came across your piece in…  [Read More]

5 Years Later: Magic and Loss

by Bill Brenner November 20, 2014 Grief management

This week marks a sad anniversary: the tragic death of a beautiful young woman named Penney Richards. Penney was killed in a motorcycle accident on a sunny day in 2009. Mood music: To be honest, I didn’t really know her. But I had once worked with her mother, who has the same name but spells it Penny. I usually slip into depression in November, but I sunk much deeper into it that year because I couldn’t…  [Read More]

When Your Child Grows Up to Be a Monster

by Bill Brenner March 11, 2014 Grief management

Like most people, the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre cut me to the core. I blogged about it, trying to find a lesson for humanity. Having lost a sibling myself, I wrote an open letter to kids who lost a brother or sister, hoping to offer them something useful, if not comforting. Mood music: But I’ll be honest: I didn’t spend much time dwelling on the question of whether my children could ever grow…  [Read More]

My Brother Lives on in the Nephew He Never Met

by Bill Brenner January 9, 2014 Grief management

Thirty-one years ago this week, my older brother Michael died at age 17. I felt the need to write something to mark the anniversary. But to be honest, I didn’t know what to say. Mood music: Part of that is because I wrote the whole “how his death affected me” post three years ago in “Death of a Sibling.” I also delved into the lighter memories — the outrageous and hilarious shit he used to…  [Read More]

My Heart Breaks for the Newtown Officer, But …

by Bill Brenner November 13, 2013 Grief management

It’s hard not to get where Newtown, Conn., police officer Thomas Bean is coming from. He responded to last December’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children were among the brutally slain. He now has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and can’t work. He says he feels dead inside. Mood music: CNN reports that Bean might be fired because Newtown says it can’t keep paying someone who is permanently disabled. A letter CNN obtained from the…  [Read More]

For Those Mourning Colleen Ritzer

by Bill Brenner October 24, 2013 Grief management

I didn’t know Colleen Ritzer, the 24-year-old Danvers High School math teacher found dead in the woods behind the school this week. I also don’t know Philip Chism, the 14 year old charged with murdering her. But I’m affected by this tragedy all the same. My first job as a reporter 20 years ago was at the weekly Danvers newspaper. Andover, Ritzer’s hometown, is where my kids go to school. It’s a town I know well as…  [Read More]