The Anticipatory Grief of Living Through a Pandemic

The Great Believers, a Novel of the AIDS Crisis, Reminds Us That ‘We Are the Memory-Keepers of This Moment’

To be a survivor of wars, of diseases, of earth-shattering moments is to be an inheritor. You inherit the grief that comes with loss; but you also inherit the memories, and the responsibility and privilege of preserving those moments, of carrying on the legacies of those lost.

The role of memory-keeper is a tangled one, as Rebecca Makkai discovered when she interviewed patients, doctors, nurses, activists, and historians who lived through the AIDS epidemic for her 2018 novel, The Great Believers. The book is a provocative read during the COVID-19 …

Where I Go: The Garden Library I Grow | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Where I Go: The Garden Library I Grow

Before I Plant, I Curl up With My Favorite Ecologists, Journalists, and Victorian Naturalists

My gardening habit was born on the day my mother died. Grief-stricken beyond belief, and thinking that her boundless spirit might linger still in the sun-loving plants she had long …

When You Live Online, Will Anyone Know When You Die?

Public Grieving on Social Media Hides a Darker Private Reality

I suspected that something was wrong on the Sunday morning when I saw the beginning of a Facebook post in my newsfeed sidebar that said, in French, “Our dear AJ …

Brooding Grief

A yellow leaf from the darkness
Hops like a frog before me.
Why should I start and stand still?

I was watching the woman that bore me
Stretched in the brindled …

Two Suicides in 12 Hours

Both My Cousin and Robin Williams Were Jovial, Life-of-the-Party Types. One Death Helped Me Absorb the Shock of the Other.

My cousin Armando drilled four holes on the top of his garage in Oakland, California one day and installed a mini-basketball hoop. It was the early ’80s, and the Los …

On Being Jewish, Perhaps

The staircase is L-shaped
with a huge cactus in the corner.
Be careful with that,
my mother says every time
we go to visit my aunt Pepa.
Today we are …