• family

    the last time

    by  • February 6, 2016 • family, grief, poetry • 10 Comments

    the last time you showed up, I didn’t know what to expect. you kicked in the door, filled the room with a dead chill . . . surprise attack: a stroke, a call, a funeral; and then miles of ache and absence, but not this time. she made choices; we made choices. we had...

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    my eulogy for my mother

    by  • January 24, 2016 • family, grief • 18 Comments

    Here are the words I spoke at my mother’s funeral: When my father died, I adapted a poem I had written for him a few years earlier, which allowed me to tell his story, express my feelings, and get through the whole thing without breaking down here at the podium. To my disadvantage today,...

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    my mother’s obituary

    by  • January 21, 2016 • family, grief • 16 Comments

    I have been in Texas for almost three weeks. My mother entered hospice care on January 2 and died on January 15. Here is her obituary. Barbara Schultz Cunningham of Waco, Texas died on January 15, 2016 of kidney failure. She was eighty-four. She is survived by her two sons: Milton Brasher-Cunningham (and his...

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    take one last look

    by  • November 19, 2015 • community, durham, family, friends, grief, home • 12 Comments

    As David Letterman was finishing up his years on late night television, one of his last guests was Tom Waits, who wrote a new song for Dave called “Take One Last Look.” I wept as I listened because Waits captured the mixture of feelings that flow as we move from one chapter of life...

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    incidental contact

    by  • October 27, 2015 • depression, family, forgiveness, love • 13 Comments

    Packing up a house is an archaeological expedition through the layers of a life in one place, not only because of the collections of things that have to be sorted and assigned a destination, but also because of the stories that get unearthed. One that came to the surface is a favorite from my...

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    so I shall sing

    by  • August 2, 2015 • family, grief, hope, music • 19 Comments

    My father and I shared a love of hymns. Actually, it would probably be truer to say I learned to love hymns in large part because of my father. Though he rarely sang outside of the house, he loved the songs of faith. One of his favorites in his later years was Gloria Gaither’s...

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    a marked man

    by  • August 3, 2014 • family, forgiveness, grace, gratitude, grief • 17 Comments

    After my father died last year, Ginger and I were at my mother’s apartment and we saw two or three bags of little white powdered donuts in the pantry. When we asked about them,my mother said, “Every morning we got up and I made a pot of coffee and we had a couple of...

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