Healing for the Holidays

Another holiday passes by without my mom and Wayne, and it's left me with some thoughts about loss...

To those who have lost loved ones or parents like I have. I would love to tell you it gets easier. That life moves fast, and you before long you'll eventually become numb. I'd love to tell you that if you surround yourself with family and friends that you won't even notice the missing links after time. But I'd be lying.

Holidays seem to move in slow motion. It's a cruel joke that the universe likes to play on us. Time seems to stop just long enough to hurt us in ways we could never imagine.

See, Death has no emotional attachments. Death has no family or friends of his own. The grim reaper is merely a debt collector. Taking names on his list and shattering surrounding lives into tiny broken pieces. Death never turns back to check the wreckage he caused because Death himself is empty, tired and alone.

So as I spend the rest of my life picking up piece after piece of a puzzle that I'll never be able to put back together, Death laughs to himself, as he watches over me. Watching and waiting... Waiting and watching... waiting patiently to take me. Ever so slightly grazing past my shoulder or whispering in my ear. Taunting me. Taunting all of us, as we gaze longingly at photographs and ugly cry in our cars. Death enjoys watching us suffer. He gets off on it.

Well, fuck that.

I will no longer indulge in such suffrage. I will no longer give him the pleasure of grinning over shattered puzzle pieces. I will celebrate him instead. I will cherish the time I had with my mother and think of her memory only in harmonious ways. I will no longer be a slave to death and his list of names. I will no longer hold a grudge towards Death, because the truth is... that's exactly what he wants. He wants us to be angry. He feeds off it. The irony is, death feels so much more alive when he's held accountable for his actions. He loves the attention. He wants to remain constant in our minds because without it, without your anger and fear he is powerless. I no longer fear death. When he comes for me, I will greet him like an old friend... Because he is only one that will lead me back to my family's embrace.

I don't have religion or faith of any kind really. All I have is the knowledge that, one day death will come for me, like he has come for so many before me. And He's the only one that knows the way home.

I know the holidays hurt a little more than regular days, but don't give in the pleasures of sulking. Instead, smile big when you think of the ones that have passed before you. Laugh loudly as if they are still right beside you in those moments. Because pieces of them still are. Carry those pieces with you, and live a life that would make them proud.


Happy Holidays,

Hugs From Phoenix

Photo by Ryan J Faber

Photo by Ryan J Faber

If you have seen me on tour this fall then you might have heard me close my show on the story about losing my parents. I don't do it every show, just when I feel a certain connection with the audience...It's not exactly a big pick me up finale piece haha

My Stepfather Wayne and I 2011

My Stepfather Wayne and I 2011

Anyways, I started sharing my story in hopes it would show people that you can find laughter in loss and tragedy. Since then, I have received tons messages, tweets and even had audience members share their loss with me after my shows. I had no idea how many people were sharing the same thoughts and feelings I had been experiencing until I began to open up on stage.

Two nights ago in Phoenix I closed my show by sharing my story and reminding the crowd to let the people they love, know that they love them, because you just don't know what's gonna happen and you might not get the chance to tell them again.

A man came up to me afterwards and hugged me like we were family. He told me he lost his mother five years ago that day. He went on to tell me how vibrate and funny and full of life his mother was and how much she would have loved my show. My heart broke for this man. I felt his pain in his words and watched as his hands trembled when spoke of his mother. We hugged again, and then he went on to tell me how much it helped to hear those words at the end of my show as he started to tear up. We hugged once more, only longer and tighter as I let him cry a little locked in my embrace and without judgement.

Comedy has taken me literally all over the world. It's put food on my table and introduced me to so many truly incredible people. Now, it's opening up a new level of connection between me and my audience and It feels so good to be able to help. Even if that means that person gets to escape their own thoughts for a few moments or by letting them know that's it's okay to let laughter echo in the darkness.


Mom and I circa 2014

Mom and I circa 2014

I said it before and I'll say it again, let's not continue to give into sulking in the memories of our loved ones who have passed before us. Instead, let's laugh and enjoy our lives as if they were still right there beside us in those moments. Don't feel like you need to stop enjoying your life because they no longer can enjoy theirs. Carry them with you, always and forever and allow yourself to laugh at a well crafted dick joke every once and awhile. ;-)

Hugs from Phoenix,


“You don’t believe in evolution?! I shouted.  I shouted. "It’s all around you mom! Plants, animals... PEOPLE! You’re literally surrounded by evolution!” I didn’t expect to get as high as I was. I knew better, but I just wanted one little hit to make the food taste better. I can’t smoke at my mothers, I mean I’m allowed but I shouldn’t. The majority of people in the world would agree that you shouldn’t smoke, f**k, or heavily drink at your mother’s house when you visit. I am not in that majority.

Thirty two years old and there I was, bent over my dresser drawer like teenager protecting my nudey magazine collection. I kept looking over my shoulder, pausing to listen for footsteps, feeling like a criminal.

Mom had asked me not to smoke in the house, she could always tell too. She had the nose of a basset hound. So I had found a way to respectfully ignore her request... I would crack windows, spray cologne, hell I'd even light candles... I was prepared to do anything. Anything except go outside in the freezing temperatures to take a measly hit of weed before dinner.

As soon as the spark hits I hear a pounding on the hallway walls. It was our poor man’s intercom system.


“Michael... Supper is ready.”

There was a brief pause, and then...

“Is that smoke? What did I tell you about that in the house?”

Fuck. I panicked. I slammed the window shut and began fumigating the room with axe body spray. 

The relationship with my mother has changed so much over the years. The turning point that I think we all share, is the moment you realize that they are only human. Trying to make it work. Trying to figure it all out. Just like you.

My mother found herself back in the pew after my stepfather and her husband of seventeen years, Wayne passed away. She needed it. She needed a sense of belonging. Wayne and my mother were together for almost twenty years, and then one day he's just gone. Mom felt ripped off. She needed something or someone to be mad at because she couldn't be at just nothing. She felt like someone messed up the order and took my step father too soon and now mom wants to speak to the manager.

“We were NOT monkeys!” My mother screamed. 

“I’m not saying WE were. Not US mom, no you and I have always been human. I’m talking about where we came from.”  

“No. We were never monkeys Michael. God made us in his image and HE is NOT a monkey.” She argued. 

“Maybe he is... Or was.” I responded.

My mother shook her head at me in anger and disapproval. I was too high for this conversation. My speech was sloppy, my words chattered and sentences would drag on way too long. I found myself rambling, grabbing onto figurative roots and old bricks as I descended down an abandoned well of conversation... Much like what’s happening now.

Too. Many. Words.

The way she was so sure that God was real (and not a monkey) sent shivers down my spine. They got to her. I believe that Christianity spreads the same way vampires do. The strongest one will sink his teeth in, you’ll drink some blood of Christ and then BOOM you have a craving, nay - a hunger for the holy spirit for the rest of your days.

My mother was never an overly religious woman. No, she was in a rock band. Well, she ran the lights for one. Mom was cool. I guess the older you get the more religious you become. Makes sense. It’s scary getting old. I'm just not scared enough to believe. I think belief in the supernatural is almost well, supernatural.

Think about it, everybody’s invincible at sixteen. It get's harder to run away from Vampires once you get older. They tend to prey on the elderly. We tend to block out the idea of our parents getting older. We think of our parents as super hero's when we are growing up. Bulletproof, and with the strength of ten men. Then you grow up and you come to realize just how fragile they really are.

Fear; the ultimate motivator.

My mother was one of the strongest most independent women I've ever met in my life. With that being said, if you were to ask me for a third descriptive word about my mother, it would be "Terrified." She feared the most mundane things. I wasn't allowed to drive if it was heavily raining outside until I was nineteen years old. Go ahead and re-read that last sentence, I'll wait. She was crippled by fear and it just got worse after my stepfather Wayne passed away. I know she was scared. Lonely even.

 She was crippled by fear and it just got worse after Wayne passed away. 

It scared me. I quickly found myself worried about her.

I can’t leave. I can never leave. She won’t make it here on her own. Suddenly I was having flashbacks of her selling all different types of technology because “They didn’t work right anymore.” She still used a flip phone for God’s sake.

We argued, passionately for a good ten to fifteen minutes. Finally I changed the subject. She got angry talking about it as well. And the next one, and the one after that. Her words dripped with venom, they stung. She would swell up like a dog who wanted you to know that it's not safe to come near it. She was hurt. Wounded. The irony was, she was dealing with it like an animal in the wild would. Who if you remember from her adamant arguments, have no relation to us what so ever.

She was hissing and growling so no one could ever get too close ever again. Because if anyone would get that close and hurt her as bad as the pain from Wayne passing away, well, then she’d probably die too.

She never said it out loud, but I saw it in her eyes. She was... Alone. Left behind. And very, very angry about it.