It’s something I wrote four and a half years ago — in the desperation of loneliness — and it’s become my most popular article. It’s not my best writing. It’s raw and unpolished. But it seems as though a lot of people can identify with it. It’s called Missing someone creates intense physical sensations in my heart. Just to give you an idea how many people still read it, I had 11,586 people visit the page last month — from 2,907 cities and towns around the world. London sent the most readers for it, followed by New York, Westminster, Los Angeles, Chicago, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, Sydney, Toronto and almost 3,000 more. I’ve noticed something interesting. It always gets the most hits from an area of the world in the late hours, right after midnight, and that breaks my heart — because I understand why. All these people are so lonely and are missing someone so much that they turn to a search engine looking for answers, so they stumble upon this piece. I wrote this late at night on the day after Christmas because my heart was breaking. I needed to express how much I missed someone, and a lot of people seem to identify with it. If you’re one of those people, I have no way of knowing who you are, but I empathize with you. I know why you hurt. I wish I could do more to help. I hurt with you, because after all this time, I still feel the same way.
I just found out that a long-time Facebook friend died a few days ago. I never met Tom Ender, but reading his posts and interacting with him over the years made me feel as though I knew him. He was a kind and gentle man who was also a fierce and principled individualist. When his long-time wife, Julie, died several years ago, it broke his heart. About a year ago, he posted an old photo from their wedding long ago and wrote, “18 months ago, Julie passed from this world. I believe we will meet again, though I don’t know details of how.” As I mourn the death of this gentle and brilliant man, my fondest hope is that he and Julie are together again by now. Goodbye, Tom.
When Francesca Montanaro’s school shut down in March due to fears about the new new coronavirus, she had nowhere to go. Francesca’s mother is a nurse working long hours in New York City. The grandparents who would otherwise have provided child-care were old enough to be vulnerable to the bug, so they were out. That meant Francesca has spent the last few months with her dad at his pizza shop in the Bronx. In this six-minute piece from Radio Diaries and NPR, we take a look at what it’s been like to be a bright and typical 11-year-old thrust into a completely different world. She puts pizza boxes together and answers phones. She’s even learned to make perfect pizzas. I found the story touching. It reminds me of the degree to which children used to learn more about the real world than they do today. Even though she won’t follow in the pizza-making footsteps of her father, I’ll bet this will be one of the defining experiences of her childhood, one that she will treasure for years to come.