Category: Death

Celebrating Victory with the Living (and the Dead)


On Superbowl morning I went to Forest Hills Cemertary wearing my Eagles jersey. It’s February in Philadelphia and it’s cold and raining and my son is standing by my side and we’re looking down at the plaque marking the birth and death of my grandparents. Mike and Doreen. I tell them about how the Eagles […]

When Former Students Die: A Teacher’s Reflection


If you teach long enough you’ll come to learn that the human story never graduates. I last saw him 11 years ago. Waiting for the graduation procession to begin, under that shadow of his squared cap, tassel dangling about his face, he smiled and said, “Mr. Armstrong, can you believe it, they’re actually letting me graduate!” I smiled, “Yeah, […]

Bowling with God (or a curious conversation with my son about death)


When I grow up I still want to see the world through childish eyes. A few days after writing Advice from the Dead, Chase and I were in the car together. I’m driving, he’s tucked in the backseat and it’s raining. Of course it’s raining. Stories like this are almost always punctuated by weather. With the […]

Advice from the Dead


The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.–Cicero Recently, while cleaning out the garage, while rummaging through stacks of dusty boxes I came across a brown, unmarked envelope. Intrigued, I quit rummaging, opened the envelope door and found my grandfather smiling on the other side. Inside the envelope it’s 1954 […]

To Robbinsville, New Jersey


Death sucks. Not because of its invincibility or apathy. Its ruthlessness or timelessness. Death sucks because it divides the living. Amidst the grieving crowd, death ostracizes  us into our own private corners.  Yes, when a person dies, the living find other. We nestle together like spoons. We offer shoulders and hands. We whisper condolences and […]

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