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]

The Feel-Good Complex: A Chronicle of Bad Choices

by Bill Brenner July 20, 2015 Addiction

With all the death and drama in my life recently, I tell people that I regret quitting drinking a few years ago. Few things appeal to me more right now than the sweet buzz a bottle of wine would give me. I have no intention of falling off the wagon. I know where it would take me. But the fact is that I’m desperate to feel good lately. For now, I cling tightly to my vapor pipe….  [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]

Dad Was a Survivor

by Bill Brenner June 29, 2015 Family

Note: This is not Dad’s official obituary — just my tribute to him. Thursday we gathered by Dad’s bedside to say goodbye. He lived for three more days. That was Dad. He was a survivor, tougher than leather and stubborn to the last. Around 3 this afternoon, his journey finally ended. Mood music: The last two months with him were a gift. By the end, nothing was left unsaid. He knew how I felt about him and I knew…  [Read More]

Thanks for Everything, Aunt Marlene

by Bill Brenner June 23, 2015 Family

Marlene Brenner died yesterday at the age of 68. She was my aunt — my father’s younger sister — and I owe her a lot. Mood music: Aunt Marlene was a constant presence in my childhood. With my siblings and grandmother, we’d go on trips to the White Mountains and lakes of New Hampshire. Many a family meal was had at her house in the Point of Pines, Revere, which was a quick walk from…  [Read More]

My Introduction to Hospice Care

by Bill Brenner April 28, 2015 Family

I’ve heard much about the blessings of hospice care, but I hadn’t seen it firsthand until now. After four years of illness, my father has decided he’s fought long enough and has chosen hospice care for the endgame. Mood music: We visited him Saturday, and he looked and sounded better than he has in a long, long time. He was alert, his talking was clear, and he was smiling the whole time. He’s made his…  [Read More]

Lessons Lou Reed Taught Me About Life and Death

by Bill Brenner November 22, 2014 Dealing with life

Life’s like Sanskrit read to a pony I see you in my mind’s eye strangling on your tongue What good is knowing such devotion I’ve been around, I know what makes things run What’s good? Life’s good But not fair at all –Lou Reed When my addictive impulses were at their worst and I felt like I’d never regain control, I found comfort in an unlikely album: The Velvet Underground & Nico. Songs like “Heroin” and…  [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]

18 Years After the Suicide

by Bill Brenner November 17, 2014 Depression

I’m doing the “Walk All Night Against Suicide Walk” in June to raise funds for suicide prevention programs. If you wish to donate, go here. Eighteen years ago my best friend killed himself. I knew he was badly depressed. I even had a feeling he harbored suicidal thoughts. I just never thought he’d do it. I was wrapped up in my own world as he deteriorated. I was binge eating and working 80 hours a week,…  [Read More]

5 Stages of Depression: Like Grief, Only Different

by Bill Brenner November 6, 2014 Dealing with life

There are plenty of articles out there about the so-called five stages of grief. Based on my experiences in that department, I find the writings mostly accurate and valuable. I’ve been thinking lately about how there are also stages of depression, not unlike those of grief. Identifying them can help you know where you are and what’s going on. Note: this is not a scientific effort. It is simply based on my own experiences. Mood…  [Read More]