Tuesday, October 07, 2008


a good friend and former coworker of mine lost his baby boy this week. the kid was not even a year old. he underwent chemo for an otherwise untreatable tumor and died of toxic shock three weeks later, leaving behind two devastated parents and a twin brother who won’t remember him. his name was Braeden Bond and he was 10 months old.

i met Braeden and his brother Logan earlier this summer at a friend’s barbecue. they were the ultimate cuties — chubby, dressed alike and sucking on their fists. i spent some time playing with the munchkins while catching up with their dad Jeff, whose copy i used to edit when we both worked for this magazine you’ve never heard of. he told me about how great (and hard) fatherhood had been, about the new magazine he was working for and how he hoped his sons would grow up to be sci-fi geeks like him. he said Braeden was the fussy one. less than six months later, he sent the following email to a group of his friends:

“Just before noon Monday morning our son Braeden passed away. For the past three weeks Braeden had been mostly unconscious due to toxic shock from a massive infection that resulted in extensive damage to his liver and kidneys. Our doctors told us that children who undergo this normally either die very shortly afterward or recover quickly, but Braeden stayed in critical condition for three weeks following the initial event, which says to us that were it not for his willpower and stubborn disposition he probably would have passed away weeks ago...”

i don’t know what to say about this beyond that it’s tragic. fucking tragic. i want to say that parents aren’t supposed to outlive their kids and that death is supposed to only happen to the old. i want to say that bad things shouldn’t happen to good people. but i know that’s naive and that the only thing i can do about fucked up shit happening is just accept that it happens and will continue to happen, without trying to make sense of it. so that’s what i’m trying to do.

Braeden is the third person i know who’s died this year. the first i didn’t write about because i was too furious with the way he died. not a suicide, but close enough. his name was James Tabler (pictured left) and i used to party with him back in the day, about seven years ago. James was a good egg, always spirited, kind and with a sunny disposition that charmed everyone who met him. he was part of a rather large crew of weekend warriors i partied with back then, doing things i no longer do today. while his death was also fucking tragic, it was not surprising. he was 28.

the other person i wrote about not too long ago, Alexander Merman, a friend and former boyfriend who was murdered in his Santa Monica condo last March. the picture of us at right was taken at my cousin’s wedding in 1999. i contacted some of his friends after i heard the news a few weeks ago, who invited me to the memorial to mark the six-month anniversary of his death. i went and saw the mother Alex left behind, the mother he called every day. she looked smaller and shorter than i remembered, like she had shrunk. she remembered me as the girl from san francisco and asked me whether i was married. i gave her the flowers i brought her and told her that i loved her. then we both started crying.

forgive me if this blog is sounding too much like the obituary section. i don’t want to be writing this. i don’t want any more reasons to write anything like this again. i understand that death is part of life and all those platitudes, but when a perfectly fine little boy is plucked from the universe, i just have to say enough. so please, enough.

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