I am a person who had a mother. And now I don’t.

JIm Pryor

The 1950 Census has been made public and I recently found my 1942-born mother living with her parents and siblings in Munhall. She was seven at the time the census taker visited. It is the first official proof I have from her “permanent record” – she was a little girl living with her family, her […]

The Six Things I Hope ‘This Is Us’ Addresses in the Final Six Episodes

First, always, is Miguel. How did and Rebecca find their way back from Facebook to marriage? What’s up with his kids now? Why haven’t we really had conversations between this Latinx man of color and Randall around their experiences of racial injustice? Miguel was a Latinx man in Pittsburgh in the 70s and 80s. Being […]

My Best Friend’s Funeral: I’m Still Crying 15 Years Later

Dr. John Ruffing Veterinarian

Today, my friend John would be 56 years old. Even in whatever heaven for terrific people might look like, he is cringing about that. But in some sort of heaven is a certainty for John. No doubt. I don’t even really believe in heaven or maybe I do, a little. But I know that a […]

Don’t Crash Into Me

No Means No

Growing up in emotional, financial, and physical chaos, I learned early on that my saying “no” was at worst, dangerous, and at best, ineffectual. I did not learn the social skills of setting healthy boundaries for myself because almost no one around me modeled that behavior. I grew up in a time when boundaries were […]

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Last week, friends set up a meal train for us to help me with my struggle to eat. It has been a lovely resource and quite effective. Dinner is handled most nights giving Laura a bit of breathing room with all the home stuff she has to manage in addition to her job and all […]

My Grieving Chronicle at Five and a Half Weeks

Birthday party idea

It has been five and a half weeks since my mother died. The phrase “and I still haven’t’ really cried” keeps coming to my lips, as if there’s a certain moisture emission density that is necessary to be a proper mourner. But it is true that I have not cried a lot, more often oozing […]

On Being a Woman

When I was a teenager and young adult, I struggled with the simple concept that I was a woman. I wasn’t questioning my gender identity; I was questioning my validity. Anytime I had to say something like “I’m a woman” in any context, I was self-conscious and awkward and keenly aware that I felt ‘othered.” […]

Trans People Are Relevant

Matthew Spampinato

Yesterday, a family friend of Matthew Spampinosa left a comment on this blog post about his death. I was appalled enough to draft a message in response to her, but my gut tells me she isn’t going to hear me. So I opted to share my thoughts with you. After all, just today Georgia introduced […]

Waiting for the Appliance Repairman

The term ‘appliance repairman’ is almost quaint. Perhaps ‘appliance repairperson’ would be better if more difficult. But Mr. Spirko has been repairing our appliances since 2003 or so, so I’ll allow for the throwback to 1970. Laura and I are both unable to recall how we learned about him. There used to be a Northside […]

And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Tomorrow will be one month without my mother in this world. That feels momentous, like a tick closer on the timeline of her disappearance from this world. A month, then two, then six, and a year. And so forth. Her birthday. Her private significant milestone dates. I’ll put them all in my phone to remind […]