Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Thomas Harding Letter

I very much liked this article by Thomas Harding. He witnessed the death of his 14-year-old son Kadian. Seven years later, he wrote a letter about advise he would give to himself when this tragedy happened. The point is sadly that the pain never goes away. He said it gets less "raw" but there is always a hole. When my son died, I had this idea that things would get better with time and the pain might go away one day.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Two Dreams

I had two dreams last night about Gilgamesh. 

In the first we were in a small engine boat on a wide and swift river with some sort of a pet seal. We docked, and then I  saw a bear with a hat in a boat come near us a bit further downstream. Then a second bear was swimming below the surface to catch up to the first. Our pet seal jumped in the water and swam to where the bears were. Gil tied off our boat and was walking towards the bears, they noticed him and there was going to be a big fight. I was frantically working to untie the boat so Gil, the seal, and me could escape the bears in the boat. 

Then in the second dream Gil was a passenger in a red car with three other boys. They were driving around like everything was normal. Sometimes when I walk to work I feel overwhelmed and I just start crying. I heard today that Gil's school Lusher published the yearbooks that are dedicated to Gil. Therese teaches at the same school. I know today will be pretty dark for her.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Good Riddance

I'm not a fan of 2019. It's for many reasons, but mostly because of death. The most difficult loss for me was my son Gilgamesh on September 17th. I also lost my sister Chris Homan on July 2nd, my biological brother Patric McKenzie on September 24, and finally, tomorrow, the final day of 2019, will be the funeral for my dear father-in-law John Francis Fitzpatrick who passed away the day after Christmas.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Condolence Letters

When Gilgamesh died, we received 156 letters of condolence in the mail. There were many more emails, tweets, Facebook messages and comments, but 156 envelopes with 55 cent stamps were put in our mailbox. Some of the envelopes contained checks donating money to the Gilgamesh Homan Memorial Scholarship fund, and we were very thankful for the outreach and the donations.

We began with the intention of writing thank you notes but quit after a few days. It was overwhelming. We might try again at some future date.

These condolence letters came from all over the world, and it was nice to see how many people had their lives impacted by Gil. There was a formula to these letters. Many started off by saying "I can't even imagine," or "Words cannot express," or "This is the 20th time I've sat down to write this." The best ones told memories of Gil or how he had impacted them.

A few were from people he had recently met at LSU. One was his English teacher, and she wrote about how when faculty asked about the new Freshman class, she had him in mind when she said they were bright and engaged.

Others were from friends who had known Gil his entire life. They chronicled how they remembered our family as a strong unit of four. "The Homan Four" one old acquaintance wrote. The letters spoke of Gil's compassion, friendliness, confidence, and sense of humor. I'm glad we have these letters, and at a later date, I look forward to reading them again.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Facebook Posts

Here are some of the posts from Facebook pertaining to Gilgamesh's accident:

Sept 16
Yesterday our son Gilgamesh Homan fell off his skateboard and fractured the back of his skull rendering him unconscious. At the hospital they put him on various life support mechanisms including a breathing machine. There was quite a bit of swelling and bleeding from the brain. They tried to take out part of his skull to ease the pressure. That didn't work. The neurosurgeons said there was nothing they could do.

Gilgamesh is an organ donor. Now over the next 30 hours they will try to find recipients for his organs. Probably Wednesday we'll say goodbye to him, and they will take him to surgery to take out his organs that matched recipients. He is just 18 years old. It's perversely senseless.

I'm not sure how appropriate messages like this are on facebook. It's just that there have been stories about his condition circulating and I wanted to clarify briefly what has happened. Thank you for your support during these difficult past 24 hours and for what lies ahead. I'm not going to be able to check facebook for a while so forgive me if I don't answer any questions in this feed.

Sept 17
The memorial celebration of my son Gilgamesh Homan’s life will likely be Saturday September 28th. More details to follow in a few days. We will be saying goodbye to him later this evening.

Sept 18
Gilgamesh Homan passed away at 8:09 PM last night, September 17, 2019.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Gilgamesh is Gone

Hi, it's been a while.

I began this blog way back in 2003 as a means to write about my teaching. My intentions were partly altruistic, as I thought that this might make me a better teacher and help others who teach and learn in the field of Hebrew Bible and the history and archaeology of the ancient Near East. Partly it was selfish, as in 2003 I was in my third year at Xavier University of Louisiana, and I planned on using this as part of my portfolio to show the Rank and Tenure committee that I should get tenure and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. Looking back on how things played out, I would say that all of these goals played out more or less.

Then on August 29, 2005, my life like so many others were changed forever when Hurricane Katrina blew ashore and the levees in New Orleans turned out to suck. I wrote about escaping the flooded city, and then chronicled my family's efforts to recover. We battled the insurance industry. It took us three years to get into our house.  Here I journaled the challenging journey my family and I were on, and writing about our experience was cathartic. I continued posting until 2014.

But then I quit posting. I started feeling like the world would be a better place without so much of my voice, that it would be better for me to quit posting and to be quiet and do a better job listening. I started thinking that social media was ruining the world. All of the above might still be true, but now, with recent events, I think I'm going to need to start blogging again for selfish reasons.

My son Gilgamesh died. He was 18, and had just started his Freshman year at LSU. He had a skateboarding accident on September 15th, and he hit the back of his head hard on the ground. He was taken off life support and he passed away on September 17th. It's now two months later. These have been by far the two most difficult months of my life. Perhaps I'm being naive, but I think that if I write about this adventure of grief that it might help me on this stupid and awful journey. Time will tell. That's enough for now.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Poverty Point and Palestine

A couple of years ago I had the good fortune to visit Poverty Point. I was blown away by place. I'm a big fan of archaeology in the Near East, and never was that interested in archaeology in the Americas. But the amount of work that went in to engineering the bird shaped mound 3000 years ago was inspiring. Lately Poverty Point has been in the news. It's nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is a very cool thing. The nomination will be voted on in June. But, UNESCO recognized Palestine as a country and then the United States quit paying membership dues to UNESCO. Also I hear The Alamo is nominated and in the same predicament. The thing is that Senator Mary Landrieu inserted the World Heritage dues of $700,000 in an appropriations bill but the House deleted it. It seems the Republican Party does not want Landrieu to get credit for this and thus get some votes from the residents of Northeast Louisiana.

Friday, September 27, 2013

"In To Wonder"

Check out this short and interesting animated film by Katherine Hogan. See if you can recognize Kalypso as a drawing.
In To Wonder from Katherine Hogan on Vimeo.