The tree before and after

There is a tree near the Nickel Bridge and Byrd Park in Richmond. After a storm in June of 2016, it looked ragged, and broken. All the trees around it had leaves and branches.

This one looked singed by lightning– alone and naked. Among it’s grove mates, it had been devastated. It had a few branches but they were stripped of foliage and it had a curious formation at the top. A heart. I could not even imagine how lightning could carve a sculpture like that out of the top of a tree.

It looked dead. In fact, I thought … Read more...

Figuring out who you are after a loved one dies

When Charles first died by suicide, I didn’t know who I was anymore.

I was the mom that had bonfires and countless spend-the-nights and pizza parties. I was the “youtube” house. I was the mom of the funniest most popular kid in school. I was mom of an up-and-coming rap artist. I was the mom who kept condoms available in the boys’ bathroom for anyone in the neighborhood that wanted them–no questions asked. I was the mom of that zany, fun kid Charles.

I was also the mom who tried for years to speak up for her child, get him … Read more...