Life in the Coronaverse: Days 47 & 48




doge in space card redux


Life in the Coronaverse: Day 26

Mass graves are being filled with the unclaimed or poverty stricken dead in New York. That’s where we are now. Hart Island (off the Bronx coast) has been used this way for a long time, but never on this level.

The virus is tearing through group homes for folk with special needs, the ones I work with.  Both the residents and the staff are in the ICU or dead. They’re now very short staffed. So if you’re unemployed and not worried about the virus, there are options for you.




Things that are happening

I’ve been away from here for a while. Things have been happening, and they’ve been too heavy to write about here. I’ll give a brief summary

  1. Last month, my gramma died just short of her 101st birthday. She was in agony and had dementia for many years, so it was more of a release than a tragedy. She was free from her pain. After all, who can complain about 101 years of life, except that maybe it’s too long? Arranging the funeral and Shiva (like a Jewish wake, with deli meat and Entenmann’s Cakes) with my combustive family was hell. I worried for weeks over how I was going to keep fights from breaking out or drama royalty making it about themselves. In the end, I must’ve done a good job. Only minor drama.
  2. The nightmares are back, they are constant, and they are worse than ever. I can’t sleep. i wake up 3 or 4 times a night in a clammy sweat. During the day, the nightmares are always on my mind. The doctor can’t give me meds for them because they are contraindicated for people with asthma. I am in a fugue state.
  3. The sequel to The Watchmage of Old New York is behind schedule. I thought it would be out by now, but it likely won’t until August. This really messes up my presentation schedule.  I was ready to sell some heckin books, but I have been too messed up to work to my fullest (see above).
  4. I’m giving the commencement speech at my old high school. I’m pretty excited about that. But I have to pretend that I’m a success and not the hot mess we know I am 😛 Then again, I think we’re all hot messes in one way or another.
  5. The contract for Song of Simon with Caliburn Press ran out, and they won’t even get back to me to tell me if they took the 3-year option. I’m ready to call my lawyer.
  6. I may have a severe, possibly life-threatening illness. We will find out in the next few weeks when the tests come back. Dammit, I’m not ready to face life-threatening shit again. I can only dodge so many bullets. I’m not Neo.

And I have too many books in me to die just yet. Then again, so did Val, and the Reaper didn’t give a fuck.

cosmic-cat tripping balls redux

RIP Gramma

At 3:52PM yesterday, my grandmother Frieda Epstein passed away in her home. Gramma was a truly extraordinary woman, and not for the extreme length of her lifetime (one month short of 101 years). She was the matriarch, the leader of our family. She made things happen.

Gramma and Grampa raised three children in Washington Heights, Manhattan. They lived in an apartment so small, my mother said that she got an F on an assignment describing her place because the teacher didn’t think it was real. In addition, my great-grandmother lived with them. Six people in an apartment unrealistic enough to get an F.

Through hard work, set backs, and successes, they were able to move across town to the new Promised Land, Co-Op City, in the Bronx. Her three kids grew up to be successes in their fields and raise families of their own. Later in life, she became president of the Co-Op City Jewish Center, the last temple in Co-Op. She held this position until she was too sick to keep it anymore. Without her, the temple closed down.

My gramma has been sick for a while. She’s been in a lot of pain. So while I mourn for her, I also realize that this is a release and relief. I grieve for my family that now has to go on without her. My gramma is at peace, and Death is much harder for the people left behind.

cosmic-cat tripping balls redux


A guy that I knew from my childhood died on Friday.

We were not close. He was the older brother of my friend and two years older than me. When you’re six, two years is a canyon, practically adulthood.

When you’re forty-one, it’s a crack in the sidewalk.

I lost contact with my friend about twenty-five years ago, but I heard about the death through the grapevine. If I wasn’t for the hive mind of the internet, I would’ve never known.

Still, I sad for the family, but I’m also self-centered. “Oh my god, how did he die? Can this happen to me? I don’t want to die young, and he was my age! Ahhh! *starts doing cardio*

I don’t think I’m abnormal in this way. People are naturally self-centered. Usually, the first thing anyone asks after someone dies is “how did they die?”

Do people want to be immortal? I don’t, but I don’t want to die either, at least not for another forty years. In The Watchmage of Old New York (Just 99 cents for the Kindle copy or free with KU), the main character does not age, and he constantly suffers for it. He’s not quite part of society, and he grieves for all the loved ones that he had to watch die.

As someone that lost their fiance five years ago, I can tell you that the only thing more fearful than death is a loved one’s death.

So I grieve for the deceased and his family, but I can’t help grieving for myself. I know that it’s weakness, but part of strength is admitting your weaknesses. Shine a light on your darkness. Be self-aware.

But you can still fear the Reaper.

Watchmage black

doge in space card redux

5 years

Today marks the 5th year anniversary of my fiance Valerie’s death. I don’t have the spoons to really talk about it. Maybe tomorrow.

I always have nightmares about it, but for the past week, I’ve been having daymares too. I’ve been living and seeing both worlds, the present and past. On Monday I caught myself saying to a friend: “I find her today. Tomorrow she will be pronounced brain dead. Wednesday she will die.”

The past is in the present tense. So am I.

Happy 40th Birthday Val

Friday would have been my fiance Valerie’s 40th birthday. She passed away suddenly on January 24th, 2013.

It still haunts me. I don’t think that you ever get over something like that. I don’t think you should.

I visited the grave, as I do every other month or so. I brought her a cake. I sang Happy Birthday and left a toy on her grave, this time a Wonder Woman figure. It suits her.

I know that it means nothing to her. How could it? If she could talk, she would tell me to stop. She’d tell me to let go.

Fuck letting go.