grief management

Sometimes, It’s Good to be Hard on Yourself

by Bill Brenner April 21, 2016 Dealing with life

Last week, I vented frustration on Facebook after a particularly frustrating day. I was angrier than I had been in a long time. Mood music: By the next morning, the bad feelings had dulled and I had second thoughts about venting my anger the way I did. So I put this on my timeline: Yesterday I was having a bad-attitude kind of day and I let it bleed onto Facebook. I try to never do…  [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]

Is the Point of Pines of My Generation Cursed?

by Bill Brenner November 19, 2013 The stormy past

A friend from my old neighborhood opined a couple years ago that our generation of Revere kids lived under a curse. “The more time moves on, I think we may be lucky for just getting out of the city,” he told me in an email. “Revere was just eating people up back then. It’s like we lost a generation.” Mood music: The death tally boggles the mind: Stefanie Santarpio died last week at age 36…  [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]

Flying on September 11

by Bill Brenner September 10, 2013 Coping tools

One of my biggest moments of shame came a week after September 11, 2001, when I scrubbed a planned trip to Arizona for a relative’s wedding. I was terrified to get on an airplane, and fear won out. Not only did I miss an important day in a loved one’s life, I also deprived my wife of the same thing. I didn’t want her flying, either. Mood music: I’ve talked to many people over the…  [Read More]

Aaron Swartz and How to Deal With Suicide

by Bill Brenner January 14, 2013 Grief management

I read many articles this weekend about the suicide of Internet prodigy and activist Aaron Swartz. Most were about how we should view his legacy in the face of charges that he used MIT’s computers to gain illegal access to millions of scholarly papers kept by JSTOR, a subscription-only service for distributing scientific and literary journals. Mood music: [spotify:track:2UaBnTuNF4pSBHZDRhzvMy] Some call Swartz a hero who stood up for Internet freedoms. Others point out that he…  [Read More]

To the Siblings in Sandy Hook

by Bill Brenner December 18, 2012 Grief management

To the people of Newtown, Conn., particularly the surviving children of Sandy Hook Elementary School: I have no idea what it’s like to lose a child, and I pray to God I never will. But I’ve lost a sibling and know how that feels. So I’m hoping, nearly 30 years after my brother’s death, that some of what I’m about to say will be of some comfort to you. We all experience the death of…  [Read More]

An Inconvenient Death

by Bill Brenner November 28, 2012 Grief management

It happens whenever someone dies. After the initial shock passes, you start thinking about when the wake and funeral will take place, including whether it will get in the way of your work, family, or entertainment plans. We feel selfish and petty when we get this way, but it’s human nature. [spotify:track:4zbJWmA6NqIPSyNsLddZnO] Some of the youngsters in my life went through this as we prepared for the wake and funeral of Nana Ruth. There was…  [Read More]