I Should Also Tell You...

Two Thousand Sixty-Seven

On Tuesday, last week, I took Ezra for a check-up at a new pediatrician. 

"Okay, family history," the doctor said cheerfully, turning to her computer. "Heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, cancer? Are all the grandparents still living?"

"My dad," I said. "Is not. He died yesterday."

"I'm so sorry," she said.

"It's okay," I said.


On Wednesday, last week, I took a train back up to Pennsylvania. 

As I rose to get off, my bag knocked over my seatmate's coffee cup.

"Oh!" she gasped.

"Oh shit!" I muttered. "I'm so sorry."

"It's okay," she said.


A very nice man asked me if I needed help with my suitcase as we boarded the elevator out on the track. I told him no thanks, my toddler weighed more than this, and HE didn't come with wheels and a handle, so I was good. He laughed.

Then he sighed. "And NOW I have to go to work."

And now I have to go help plan a funeral, I thought, but did not say.

Instead, I smiled. "That sucks. I'm so sorry."


A couple hours later I was ordering a cake. The baker asked if I wanted anything written on it, or a specific decoration or theme.

"It's...for a funeral," I stammered. "So...probably just plain. Right?"

He nodded. "Simple and elegant. I'm so sorry."


People kept stopping by my mom's house to visit -- some of them out of the blue, having come across his obituary in the paper that morning, despite not having any contact with my parents for years and years. I found some of them nice, some of them insufferable, but almost all of them exhausting. I sat on the couch and nodded nicely as they retold their own decade-old stories about loved ones who died, who died after an illness, or suddenly, or at the hospital or at home or in hospice. My favorite was the one who was convinced her dead mother and grandmother were communicating with her via an off-season-blooming of her Christmas cactus. 

I was tired and cranky and terribly sick with a cold and trying to hide the alarming number of false-labor contractions I'd been getting since my arrival from my already stressed-out-enough mom. I'd lost two pounds since my last OB visit and couldn't seem to eat anything without experiencing stomach pains afterwards, so I was generally quarantined to the couch, unable to do much without immediately regretting it. 

So I wasn't in the mood for small talk with strangers, especially small talk about strangers dying, which I couldn't even believe was actually possible, but there it was. Thanks for sharing? I'm sorry I don't remember that time you babysat me when I was five? I'm sorry for your loss? I'm sorry but it's our turn now, so shut up? 


My mom kept asking me to pull up my blog on my phone, so she could see the comment count climb. 1,832. 1,910. 2,014. Two thousand and sixty seven in all. We read every single one. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry

I told her there were hundreds more on Facebook, Twitter and email, too.

"It's so wonderful," she marveled. "What do you even say to them?

"I don't know," I said. 


The funeral was on Friday. He was buried with military honors for serving at Fort Knox as a sergeant during the Korean war. It was cold and raining and had even snowed for awhile. "April Fools!" barked the TV weathermen that morning. I wore a dark purple dress, a black puffy maternity parka and cream-colored rubber wellies. My sister and I sat on either side of my mom, who sobbed and sobbed, while my other siblings spread out around us, our faces all frozen in tense, non-crying states, our eyes all communicating the singular thought of OH MY GOD THIS SUCKS.

I stared at the casket and felt dull and numb. And cold. So very, very cold. I decided I just wanted to get through the day without anyone touching me. Or rubbing my belly. Oh, hell, that. And that I would ask my mother-in-law for some pantyhose before we went to the reception.


"I want to be cremated," I told Jason back in the car.

"Really?" he asked.

"Yes. Then go on a really nice trip and dump me there, and like, be done with it."

Jason adjusted his grip on the wheel and looked pained. "I don't know."

"Okay, well, how about if I go first, you do whatever makes you feel better? If having a grave to visit helps, do that. Otherwise..." I waved my hand dismissively out the window.

"I really hate this GPS," he said, poking his finger at the map, which informed us we were on private roads with no data. 


The reception was lovely. Family friends hosted it at their sprawling old farmhouse, and there was a train table upstairs for the boys to play with and a piano downstairs for them to bang on. And then there was the cake. The simple, elegant cake with plain white icing and no writing.

After each and every bite, Ezra scrunched up his fists and his face and yelled "YUMMMMMEEEEEE." And he greeted everyone he met with hugs and kisses. Noah was shyer, but was on his most perfect behavior, except when he told Ezra there was a bear in the basement and accidentally made him cry. I hadn't seen them since Tuesday, and I couldn't get enough of them. 

All the televisions in the house were tuned to the Phillies' season opener. Ezra wore a little red Phillies t-shirt I'd bought at Old Navy ages before. The Phils came from behind to win in the ninth inning, and everybody cheered. My dad's home (and eventually, hospice) nurse was there, and his general physician and his entire office staff came, after seeing their last patient for the day. 

"I so sorry," people said to me, over and over. But then they also told me how beautiful my children were, and how funny, and how wonderful I looked, and how exciting a new baby would be, and how they promised to help cheer up my mom the next week, and the week after that, once I went home and was grounded from travel. 

"Thank you, " I learned to say, simply, finally. And I meant it. I mean it. Thank you



and thank *you*, for sharing you family with us all.


You're welcome. You don't have to say anything to us. All we can do is share our sorrow, our sympathy, when we wish we could do more.


beautifully written.


Thinking of you and your mom and your family....


Oh Amy. I cried for you and your family, but I didn't comment because it didn't seem like it would do any good. Now I regret it. I'm glad 2067 other people stepped up to say what we were all thinking. I am so sorry.

bethany actually

Oh, Amy. You don't have to say anything at all. But "thank you" is certainly enough. I hope the false labor contractions go away, they're no fun.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Hugs and warm thoughts and prayers for healing and happiness.


You are so strong, lady *huuuugs*

...And it's okay if you don't want to be for a while <3


I second Gemma's comment. Thank you for sharing your family with us. You did an amazing job of honoring your dad.


Even your snippets are wonderful. Thinking of you all.


I wore eyeliner today, more like war paint because of this job. So I could only read one or two sentences at a time, then click away, wait for my tears to go away then click back and read a couple more.

I third that first comment. "Thank you" for sharing your family with us.

The Tutugirl

I know it sucks, and you probably don't feel this way, especially these days, but you handle everything that life hands you with such grace. Thank you for sharing your family with us.


You don't need to worry about thanking anybody. All of us- every person who encounters anybody who is going through the grieving process- understand.


Beautiful post Amy. Hang in there.


One of the best pieces of writing I've read in a long time, Amy. You've summed up the emotions that go with a death in the family perfectly. Again, I'm sorry for your loss. I hope that you and your family are healing.


All of these strangers (friends) all over the world are thinking of you and loving you and wishing we could do more!

Marilyn @ A Lot of Loves

Is it okay if I say that I think the snapshots of your week are beautifully written? That seems weird to say when the subject is so terrible. Still, it's true, and I really am so sorry.


We just had a death too and it surprised me just how much every single comment meant to me.

I have also had a really hard time listening to other people complain about things without saying something snarky back to them. I had someone call me to complain about someone being mean to her and I almost said "well, I had to pick up ashes at the funeral home two days ago."

And as always, I am thinking about all of you. Because it really does suck.


I'm just so sad for you. I really am. Maybe it's because my son is around Ezra's age and I can only imagine the pain of all of this. Anyway, I am thinking of you and your family a lot this week, which may seem strange since we've never met, but of course, I feel like I know you a little. Perhaps try some Easter candy for your stomach. Sometimes a Reese's egg is a good option.


Beautifully written.
I'm so very sorry for your loss.


I'm so sorry Amy.

I'm thinking of you and your family. I'm so so sorry. Try to take care of yourself.


Amy, I'm so, so sorry. Thank you so much for sharing your family with us.

Nothing But Bonfires

I'm sitting here all weepy. Lovely writing, lovely sentiments. Just thinking of you so hard.


I'm so glad that the hearts you reach were able to help you and your Mom thru this.

Thank you, Amy. Truly.


This is beautiful and something that all of us can identify with. You captured not only the pain, but the celebration of his life. I'm so sorry for your loss.


You are AMAZING! I feel I need to thank-YOU! I'm a huge fan of yours for more reasons than I could ever capture in words. My thoughts are with you (and have been for some time). I felt this was worthy of commenting rather than just lurking like I have for the past 3 yrs.


I am so happy that our comments reached your mother and that she liked them. I imagine she is very, very proud of you, and all her children, and that that helps some. Thank you for your writing. It is just lovely, and something to learn from.

Amy B

2067, plus how many more hundreds and hundreds of chumps like me who didn't comment because, what do you say?? I didn't comment, instead I sat at my computer and cried for you.


We are here, and we share in your grief. If only there was something else we could do...I'm so sorry, Amy.


I just wanted to say I'm sorry again. However, the past fews posts have been some of the most moving things I've ever read. I don't think I've ever actually cried and hurt for someone so much before that I've never even met. Just know you and your family have endless amounts of support no matter what goes on. You're all incredibly strong people. I love reading your blog and I hope Ezra is making sure to share those hugs and kisses with you too.


funerals totally suck and I can only imagine what one feels like when it's for a parent.


This was a beautiful post. Hauntingly honest, and I am grateful you share your life and your talent with us. I'm so sorry about your dad, and I wish I could do more for you and yours. Internet hugs to you.

Angie @ Musings of a Violet Monkey

Beautifully put.
I was amazed at all of the comments, as well. We all just wanted to try to say the "right thing".



We love you, and your family, and your talent. *hugs*


Ah sweetie. You captured this so perfectly. And I, too, am sorry.


Yes thank YOU for sharing your family and heart with us, it's a gift to us all.

Kathy W


People share stories to help you know you are not alone.

I just lost my Mom one month ago tomorrow and now I sit with my Dad--he's decided to do home hospice as well. I am losing my tiny little family in a heartbeat and as exhausting as "those" stories and "those" people are, I take comfort in knowing--I really am NOT alone.

I'm so sorry for the loss of your Dad. No one will ever love you like your Dad.



I have read every one of your posts through tears... But didn't comment because I thought my comment wouldn't mean anything among the many. Realizing now how stupid that was. I am in awe of how gracefully you have written about going through this. And most of all, I am just so so sorry for you and your family's loss.


This is just so beautiful. I'm amazed at your ability to capture life in just a few snapshots. I hate that you had to write this, but I am so glad you were able to write through your pain.


"Remember me because I'm special", or so it says up there... It's the sweet you, Amy, that. You told us that so long ago, and do every time.

I can't remember whether I commented, whether I was just too floored by the power of your photo, and how it resonated with my own memories (it's your turn). I ended up emailing, and was again floored because you actually took a couple of moments to reply to an email.

Thank you, Amy. And, as selfish as it may seem, thank you for sharing your pain, because it selfishly made me relive my own pain, and my own mourning, and work on that a bit more. But it's your turn. I wish it weren't. I truly do. Thank you.


There really are no words because really, there is no way to ease the burden for someone else on this nasty road of grief.

I hope you feel some comfort in knowing that your grief is shared by so many, either because of our own losses, or simply because your writings have managed to touch our hearts.

My own father was given a terminal cancer diagnosis 2 years go - and I have been unable to comment on any of your cancer posts simply because it is all too real to me. My dad still fights, and fights valiantly too, God bless you all, and I am, of course, so sorry for your loss and that you are on this difficult road of grief.


Thinking about you and your family during this difficult time. This brought tears to my eyes.


Thank you for sharing. I'm so sorry. You don't know how much I've needed to read your story as I'm going through nearly the same thing with my mom, just a few weeks or a month behind you. It's nearly an impossible situation - choosing to let go, choosing hospice. I feel like it's a tug-o-war on my heart. Yet, then I feel guilty for even thinking about ME. How impossible this must be for her. I've wanted to write you a million time in the last week just to ask how it's possible to get through... But I don't know you and don't want to intrude. So, just Thank You for being so open and honest and know you've helped me immensely.

Your family is in my prayers.


I just came across your blog through twitter. All I can say is that I know exactly what you are going through.

Even though I lost my dad 8 years ago yesterday, it seems like yesterday that it happened.

I'm not going to say that it will get better in time, because frankly, I'm not there.

Just remember him, healthy, and know that he's not in pain any longer and that he's looking over you and your family with a great big smile across his face.


Hugs and thinking about you and your family.


I am deeply touched by this post, Amy. I've cried more with you the last few weeks than the combined past, what, 5 years? More? Longtime fan... Those folks, the ones you want to shut up about their own loss, they've no idea what else to say. We're just heading into this unfortunate phenomenon as my mom has been given 12 months to live due to brain cancer. It's unreal, surreal. I am turning to your writing so as to sort of find someone else who's faced this thing. Like feeling along the wall with your hands down the dark hallway when you get up to pee at 2am. Thanks for all you give, just by being and doing what you do.


I think you don't say anything else to us. This post is enough. We all know that this is a rough time for you and each and every one of us wants you to know your family is in our thoughts and prayers. Concentrate on them.


You're welcome.

And, thank you. Your last few posts have been so achingly true and real, bringing back some of the rawest moments of the deaths of family and friends I've experienced...somehow it seems wrong to point out what a good writer you are in the midst of all the pain. I'm sure you'd rather not be experiencing the pain. But, God, are you doing some of the best work blogs do in sharing a space of real honesty and feeling.


tears, tears, tears - you are helping me grieve my own loss from last month and I am so sorry and so grateful for you putting words on it all

I was thinking about it yesterday driving the kids to tennis - my hands gripping the steering wheel and my mind unable to process that someone I love is no longer here - I wondered how you were possibly doing this while pregnant

it's all awful and beautiful and full of life and heartbreaking - thank you and I am just so so sorry for you and your family - and your precious mom


I lost my dad 6+ years ago and I still don't feel like I have anything useful to say to others in the same boat. It sucks, and I'm sorry. I hope you feel better soon.


Hi Mama Corbett! Very sorry for the loss of your dear husband.

Amy, hang in there. Hugs a million to you and your family. Soak in your boys. They are the sunshine in all of this for sure.

(Had to chuckle a wee bit that Noah made Ezra cry by telling him there was a bear in the basement. "whoops, you believed that? Sorry dude."


Let me add my voice to the chorus. I'm so sorry. I can't imagine your heartbreak, but I hope that your new little boy helps heal the empty spot in your heart. Thanks for sharing your story.


Love to you and to you mom and the rest of your family.


It's so so hard to know what to say when people say I'm sorry. I learned that when my dad died 4 years ago. You brought tears to my eyes when you said that you learned to say thank you... it took me a long time to figure that out. Your family is in my prayers. God bless you.


Thank you for being so generous with your feelings, thoughts and emotions at a time when all of them have to be screaming in conflict. Thank you for sharing, and showing us how to be dignified and strong in a time of great distress. Thank you for allowing us into your life, and for sharing everything with us. Peace to you and yours, now and always.


it all just sucks. it's not fair. i'm sorry. i'm so sorry.


Still thinking of you and sending good thoughts to you and your family.


The week of the funeral, you're In shock,and it sucks. Meeting with the funeral director, picking out a casket(OMG CHOOSING A CASKET), listening to other people's stories, running all over town, and WHY are you COLD all the time??? It all sucks. And the funeral sucks. Cry, don't cry, be strong, need an arm to lean on - it doesn't matter. It sucks. The reception is lovely and you may even find yourself laughing at something. But then, oh GOD then. The last guest leaves and WHAM. Nothing but you and loss. And more loss and even more and tears don't help but they won't stop and oh, it sucks so bad but somehow you keep breathing. And then life goes on with work and colds and kids and dogs and some days everything is OK for a little while and some days nothing will ever be right again. No right way to feel. No wrong way to feel. Life is beautiful even in its suckiness and you, Dear Amy, have the strength and the humor and the moxie to manage it all. Even when it feels like you don't. Love and light, honey. And tell your Mom I'm thinking of her, too.


The week after my Mom died was the worst week I've ever lived through, I think. So many details, so many people who I'd never see again telling me their condolences, when all I wanted was for none of it to be happening, especially not with MY MOM in a casket in front of the room. It was all just so wrong.

Reading this made me remember that pain, and wish I could spare you or anyone else from ever going through it.

I'm sorry. :(


I didn't comment on the other post because....what else could I say? I mean, two thousand "I'm sorry" messages, what could mine mean?

But obviously they did mean something to you. To your Mom. So.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing his story, your story, with all of us these past few months.


Thank you for sharing your journies...thank you for opening your heart to all of us...thank you for being you. xoxoxoxoxoxo


*journeys...um, shame on me. Ack! Had to correct that one immediately. :)

Amanda N

People really do say the dumbest things without meaning to. The hardest part is not being angry at them and remembering that they just don't know what to say. The day my mom died I was comforting HER mother (my grandma). My grandma, as she was stroking my face, said, "And you never even gave her grandchildren". Someone said that to me at the funeral too.

The only thing you can do is try to remember that when people feel uncomfortable, they grasp for anything, and usually what happens is they feel they need to relate to you (as I just did, because I suck) by comparing, so you know that THEY feel for you. Because they know, in their way (which is different than YOUR way) how it feels to hurt so much.

I think it's also REALLY hard to remember that it's all perspective. Oh, the anger you feel when someone else complains about something 'awful' they're going through... when you just want to scream at them, "But not as awful as what I'm going through!". And you know what, it's ok to be angry, but you're doing right by taking a deep breath before reacting. Because they don't know better.

We've never met, but from afar I've remembered how I felt, and it is not the SAME as how you feel, but it makes me hurt for you just the same...


I don't know why I didn't post and make it 2068...I wanted to but thought maybe you'd had enough? I couldn't express how much your story meant to me, even though (or perhaps because) I've never experienced anything like it myself? Now I realize you can never have enough kindness and love coming toward you, for any reason. I'm so, so sorry about your dad. Your family is beautiful.

Springsteen fan

Is it really weird and stupid that I kept watching the comment count creep up and hoping it would hit 2,000? I just wanted you and your family to know the interweb was bursting with love and support for you and your family. A small thing, but it means something so much bigger.... I love the way you put words to feelings that have no words, they are so hard.

Parsing Nonsense

You're holding it together so well, Amy, you really are doing a marvelous job. Hang in there.



you've got me tearing up at work.


Beautiful post Amy.

Thank you is enough. More than enough in fact.


I am so so sorry for your loss.


I've been waiting for your posts, as I always do, because you are so smart and funny, and then I think about how you are experiencing life without a father, in all of its myriad sadnesses, for the first time this week. So, I thought you probably have nothing to say --- and then you post this beautiful and touching story. It is us (me) that owe you thanks, for keeping us with you on your journeys, for letting us live your life with you, for letting us see a strong way to live. Thank you.


Hope you're okay. It sounds like it was as good as it could have been. Get some rest.


It's a hard thing to answer, for sure. It's hard partly because it's just so inadequate, it seems, on both sides. I'm sorry - my heart breaks for you, I wish I could take even a modicum of pain away, and yet somehow you need all that to fully and healthily grieve...and it just sucks. A Spanish "I'm sorry" seems better, almost - lo siento. I feel it. I'm so sorry you're hurting, Amy, so sorry you lost your wonderful Dad. Thoughts and prayers are continually with you <3


You're welcome.


Just shedding a little tear for you.

I cry, in extreme happiness and sadness, for you and yours more than any other person(s) in my life, so thank you for so bravely sharing the *reality* of life so eloquently and eliciting the honest feelings of shared humanity so consistently.

Becca Lynn

Amy. I was fine. I read the whole post, sad, sypathetic. But I was fine.

Then I read the last line. Wow. Now, I'm in tears. The strength you've shown over the last few weeks, and months. Writing about something so painful, for the whole world. You amaze me. Thank *you*.

Becca Lynn

Amy. I was fine. I read the whole post, sad, sypathetic. But I was fine.

Then I read the last line. Wow. Now, I'm in tears. The strength you've shown over the last few weeks, and months. Writing about something so painful, for the whole world. You amaze me. Thank *you*.


I've experienced the loss of a very close friend in the last few days. It feels like it has been weeks of constant grief since he died. When in reality it hasn't even been a week. Thanks for writing about what you are going though. I don't feel so alone.


I've been thinking of you and your family so much, and sending love and prayers.

Kristy Boxberger

Cancer does suck.


every time I've tried to comment I've felt my eyes fill up with tears for you and your mom but this time I'm just going to blaze through. The one thing I've felt over and over as your dad was dying and now is that you all have so much love for each other. Your dad loved you so much. And I am so glad that you have had that. Thank you for telling this story. And take care of yourself. And now I'll just go to the supply closet, wipe my face and blow my nose.

Big Gay Sam


We love you very much.

Jen L.

I am so glad our internet comments brought some comfort to your family. I always wonder whether or not I'm being annoying by commenting on a very personal post like your last few, but now I'm so glad I did. And no thanks are necessary. We all care about you and want you to know how we feel. Take care of yourself and that sweet baby boy in your belly!


And what u have done for me?
You have made me be a little nicer to my aging parents who make me a little crazy sometimes. I kiss them and hug them every single time now.
All because of you...
Please put your feet up and eat some food and take care of yourself and try to really soak up the lovins us here Internet folks are sending your way.


I second Starbuck's comment - you honour your dad so well. And you do so not only through what you have written about him over the years (I have been following your blog for ages) but through your life - your family and who you are. I was happy so many people commented (and I'm sure loads more were reading without commenting) because it just goes to prove my point that you and your family are a wonderful bunch. I hope you are all keeping well and I wish you all the best.


I lost my Mom over 25 yrs ago. One yr later I had my first of 3 daughters. My Dad and i couldn't get over how at times my first daughter looked, laughed and acted like my Mom. It was comforting for us! Enjoy the happiness of your upcoming baby Amy & fam! Enough sadness for now!!!!


So some days I escape to the bathroom at work to have 5 minutes to myself. Two weeks in a row I have sat here sobbing reading your entries. A 7-year-long reader here finally commenting because you are an amazing woman and thank you ever so much for sharing your life with all of us. My thoughts and positive vibes are with you right now, and have been all along. I hope the sorrow and pain lifts quickly and you are reminded watching every phillies game what a wonderful father you had (and that they pull out wins for him in the final inning of the game :)


Thank you for sharing with us. Beautifully written and eloquent.


You said everything I was thinking on the the days that followed my Dad's death. I have cried with you many times, revisiting old feelings and really want to hug you. If I ever meet you, that is what I will do.

Alison Gross

Amy, I wish I could still comment on the last one, because I read it and cried my eyes out for you and your family and resolved to call my dad, who, I swear, I appreciate that much more from reading your blog over the past few months. Sometimes I think the best testament to our parents is going on to be loving, thoughtful parents ourselves. You already do that, and I think your blog plays a part in all of your readers doing that as well. Thank you, and take care of yourself.


I too read and cried but did not comment. Now I regret it. I adore your blog and your family. Hugs and prayers to you. Take it easy.


Think of this. You have 2067+ thoughts floating out there from friends and strangers alike to chase away the cold. It won't stop your sadness for even a moment, but I hope that it they can knit you a blanket to chase away the chill...


So sorry, Amy. Had not yet commented, but will now. Wishing you and your family well.

Plano Mom

It really, really sucks that you're part of the club. Hang in there.


I am so glad that you and your mother have felt our support as a real thing. Know that it is a REAL thing. You are marvelous, and we know that your father must have done a whole lot right to help you turn out that way.


I wish I could hug all of you. Especially the wonderful Noah for being so good to his Mommy right now. And I hope that you can find some comfort one day in the fact that a piece of your father will live on in the hearts of every person who read your blog this past few weeks. And he lives on every day in your wonderful writing.


I really am so sorry. I know that's been said over and over...but it is still true. I wish you all much love and peace.

Lori McBride

It just plain sucks. I'll never understand the "culture" of death in our society. At a time when a family is rocked to it's core by grief and loss, it's almost as if that family has to support the long lost friends and family who haven't been around in years. I guess the reason they all show up is from the heart.....they hurt too, and feel loss too....and usually, a burden of loss shared is...."easier"? The uncomfortable, weird, conversations are an attempt to say what is...."appropriate" at such a time? Who knows.

Even though you've heard it and read it so many times....I am truly sorry for your loss. There are no words to make it better, but there IS a community doing their best to surround you with love and support and wishing that there was something we could do....and something we could say...to make it easier.



more hugs.


It sucks. Losing a parent is the hardest thing I've ever had to survive. I've lost both of mine and I can tell you that from experience. I'm sorry for your loss. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. But mostly you. Hang in there.

Jenny Joy

I'm still thinking of you and your family. Still sending tons of virtual hugs and love from this complete internet stranger. I wish there was more that I, or anyone for that matter, could do. But, there isn't. So...... squishy, gentle, knowing hugs. I have plenty.

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