Sunday, June 22, 2014

Memorial (after)

Yesterday was the last official memorial for Kevin, at least for some time. It was very, very hard. It was appropriate, celebratory, sad and what I think most people needed.

I don't yet know how I feel about it for myself, but I'm glad it's done. I'm glad it helped people, most especially Kevin's kids. I'm glad I got to hear the stories. I'm glad everyone got to remember him together and comfort each other. I expect that, eventually, I will look back at it as powerful, meaningful and part of my healing process, but for now...

I am exhausted. Not physically so much as emotionally. I feel numb, the way a wound does before it really starts to hurt.

I am grateful to everyone who participated in any way. Speakers, listeners, people who schlepped stuff, everyone.

I feel so much love because, if I have learned nothing else, we must love one another as much as we can while we can.

Mostly I miss Kevin. I hope he was there in some way, embarrassed, proud, glad he was so well loved.

Below are my remarks, in case you want to read them. Be well. Love one another.

June 21, 2014

Let me start with gratitude.

First, I am grateful for everyone involved in making this event possible. Speakers, musicians, cooks, technical support, everyone who helped with set up and clean up. Each and every one of you have come to remember and celebrate Kevin. Thank you for being here. From the moment Kevin was diagnosed we were held by your collective love. Whether you sent a card, a good wish, a donation or something else, we needed all of it. His family and I continue to need your good thoughts and presence. The love of our extended family and communities is helping. Thank you.

Second, I am grateful to those who are closest to Kevin, in particular his kids, for their input and creativity in planning this event.

And third, most importantly, I am grateful for Kevin's life. For everything he taught me and each of you about the world. About story. About creativity. About patience, swimming, cycling, music, dancing, laughing, listening, failure and success. I am most grateful for everything he taught me about love. Today is a reflection of his capacity for love. Boy can that man love.

As we've heard today, Kevin was many things to many people. He was my heart. I could tell you stories about our life together, but those are for quieter times, more private moments. I am not yet ready to gives those memories to the world. I will say that he was my partner in just about every action. He was my friend, my sounding board, my lover, my ongoing challenge, my beloved, my foundation, my soul mate. He still is. With all of his ability, flaws and wonder, in his entirety, he still is.

Which brings me to the other thing I want to say. Today is not necessarily about closure and endings, but continuation. Kevin's earthly body may not longer be here but he continues. That isn't to say I am not eviscerated by his loss, but I know even in my deepest, darkest moments, he is not forgotten, not lost, not gone. Regardless of your feelings about an afterlife - an afterlife that Kevin believed in - he continues. His radiance and his energy are not gone because energy is never lost. It is no mistake that we are gathered on the solstice, the longest and brightest day of the year. A light as bright as Kevin's forces shadows from their hiding places and illuminates possibility all around. That light continues. He continues when we care for each other. He continues when we listen to each other. He continues when we remember him wherever we are in the world and, because of that, I know he will never be truly gone from the world, from my heart or from yours. We each carry his light.

I cannot describe to you the pain and emptiness I experience every day because of his death. But I take solace in his continuation. In the light I see in each of you. Thank you for joining us today. Thank you for celebrating that great light in the world, the light that continues in each of us, thank you for remembering and sharing your father, your brother, your uncle, your friend, my beloved, Kevin Michael Brooks.

(c)2014 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. Love and hugs and remembering and weeping and laughing. Mostly remembering.

  2. Dear Laura,
    Your words and the beautiful ceremony helped me to remember Kevin's light and to spread his friendship forever through the world. I know it is small consolation but people have essentially been unchanged throughout time, and our relationships and love lasts forever. We strengthened our bonds to your family and Kevin yesterday, and we will all always remember him as a light in our hearts forever. Love is best.

  3. I felt like I was there, I wanted to be there with you. I love you

  4. Thank you so very much for getting through the memorial for everyone else. I was sitting across from you in the balcony and could see that it was hard for you. I wanted to come downstairs and hug you but we've never met and the line was so long I figured you and the kids must be tired so I left around 5pm without saying hello.

    I’m connected to Kevin through the Media Lab and Angela Chang. You and Kevin have been much in my thoughts since I heard Kevin was sick, but I’m sorry to say that I didn’t manage to reach out sooner.

    I don’t know if hearing this will help in any way, but even after he was gone, Kevin inspired me to tell stories. After being at the memorial on Saturday, I realized that people should know that. So I wrote this:

    Please don’t feel obliged to read it. I just offer it as a reminder that Kevin will not be forgotten.

  5. Beautiful...

  6. Dear Laura,

    You offered all of us a place of solace, to remember the amazing impact Kevin had on our storytelling community and to learn just how far his gentle touch reached. His presence, his soul, his spirit made this world a kinder place.

    Each person who spoke gave us a new, shiny piece of the precious puzzle that was/is Kevin. It was a glorious celebration of a life well-lived. Thank you for allowing us to gather in his light.

    My heart grieves for your loss but oh the glory of having the chance to share your life with him. You were both blessed as were we to know him. Holding you in the light...

  7. I was not able to come to the memorial, but my thoughts and prayers were and continue to be with you. I know few couples as devoted to one another as the two of you were. A love that strong can never die, only morph from one form to another. Kevin is with you in spirit. You will hear him singing to you on the wind; laughing with you when unanticipated joy sneaks up on you (this will take time); and hovering closely over you, keeping you from drowning in sorrow when the grief is to much to bear. Blessings and peace be with you, Laura.

  8. Dear Laura,
    Thank you for your words. You remind me to celebrate the blessing of knowing Kevin, his warmth, his intelligence, twinkling humor, light, generosity of spirit, love.
    All this, even as we all continue to grieve this incalculable loss.
    Hugs to you from Santa Rosa.


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