Posts Tagged ‘tragedy’

Crazy Mother: A Tragedy in Torrance

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Eugène Delacroix - Medea

Carol Coronado, 30, stabbed her three young children to death and then got into bed with them. The children ranged in age from 2 1/2 to 2 months old. That is red flag number one.

Earlier that morning, Carol had called her mother to say she was ‘going crazy.’ Red flag number two.

Carol’s mother was at work so she called Carol’s sister-in-law, Sandra, and asked her to give Carol a call. Sandra, whose brother Rudy Coronado is Carol’s husband, now reports that Carol denied anything was wrong, but did admit to being exhausted. Sandra could hear babies crying in the background, but that was not unusual. She quotes Carol as saying, “Just tell your brother to calm down.”  Red flags #3, #4, and #5.

Rudy’s mother arrived in the afternoon, while Rudy was outside working on his car. She emerged from the house screaming that the children were dead. She had called 911. Police came and led Carol out of the house, naked under a blanket and covered with blood. She was covered with stab wounds, most of them superficial.

Now, this next part is key:

Carol Coronado, who was taking classes on the Internet, stayed at home with the children while her husband went out early each day to sell car parts at the Alpine Village swap meets.

She kept a cluttered home, which triggered some discord with her husband.

“I believe that was their main issue,” the sister-in-law said. “My brother wanted the house clean for his girls. He wanted to come home to a home-cooked meal. ~ (my italics) Daily Breeze, Larry Altman

Here is the house, described as a former workshop or converted garage. I’ll take the liberty of calling it a shithole.

shithole in torrance

I’m thinking, Andrea Yates. I’m thinking too many babies, postpartum depression, trapped in a shithole, demanding husband, desperation,  no way out.

What are you thinking?

Beautiful Leg

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Kiera Roche - floral leg


Before today, I have felt offended by images of prosthetic limbs that seemed to fetishize amputees.

Even though it’s none of my business what people fetishize, I will always remember the doctor who told Max to consider having his leg amputated. Max was visibly upset, but somewhat resigned. Everything was as bad as it could be for him, so why not this new development, too. As it turned out, his surgeon disagreed. Further surgery and physical therapy could save the leg. But pictures of prosthetic legs continued to fill me with anger and despair.

Losing a leg seemed indescribably horrible and unfair. But it happens. And clearly there are plenty of people who cope with this loss and don’t let it ruin their lives.

Kiera Roche is a strong-willed amputee who has challenged herself with cycling and hiking. She has struggled with ideas of ‘normal’ and looking different. She loves her beautiful new floral leg, and I love it too.

Kiera and Anna


Keira and her beautiful leg have changed my thinking about amputees. I am grateful to have come across The Alternative Limb Project. I feel enlightened on a subject where my mind was once closed.


photos (c) the alternative limb project

The Crash Reel

Monday, July 29th, 2013



Once in a while, I see a film that is so transformative, I wish I could make everyone watch it. The Crash Reel is exactly that. It is a fucking gem in every way and I want you to make every effort to see it.

The Crash Reel is a documentary about a fearless young snowboarder, Kevin Pearce, who has a terrible wipe-out just before the winter Olympics in 2010. The accident leaves Kevin with a traumatic brain injury and limitations that he refuses to accept, but ultimately lead him to advocate for people with brain injuries and other disabilities.

It’s a riveting, emotional and thought-provoking film, beautiful to watch, and filled with heart-wrenching moments that compel you to think about your own family and your own reactions to adversity.

I watched The Crash Reel twice: alone the first time, and then with my husband. The first time, I was overwhelmed by all the emotion but uplifted by all the palpable love on display. The next time, I found too many parallels in my own situation as the mother of both a dare-devil and a child with special needs. I wished that my own story was more positive. I wished that our love could have triumphed over everything.

But still, seeing that there is satisfaction in helping others is inspiring. Seeing a family pull together like this one is beautiful beyond words.

Finally, apart from all its artistry, this documentary is an effective discourse on head injuries. Be careful, and #loveyourbrain!



Human Kindness Overflowing

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Nandini Valli Muthiah small


Last night, I stayed up until dawn after taking in too much suffering. I am trying to learn tonglen, a method of breathing in suffering and breathing out compassion, but I forgot. I forgot, and found myself dwelling on my own misery.

Earlier in the day, I wrote a letter to someone whose partner killed himself. Later in the day, I answered an email from a man whose depressed wife has taken to her bed, leaving him with two jobs and the care of their children. Then I read about the mother who killed her 14 year old autistic son, incurring the understandable wrath of the disability community and beyond.

So many problems and so many tragic circumstances with no easy solutions. It’s overwhelming. You have to do something, though, right?

I have a bunch of Facebook “friends” who I don’t know in real life. I acquire them for the usual reasons. One of them, Jon, had an accident a few weeks ago that left him paralyzed in a wheelchair and unable to keep his apartment. His story triggered memories of Max’s despair over his injuries.

I was determined to help Jon. I noticed that he had more than 1,000 Facebook friends. He is a political activist and provokes lively discussion on his Facebook page. So I posted my idea on his page: I exhorted Jon’s friends to each make a $5 donation to his Paypal account. What a great idea, I thought proudly! I felt deeply satisfied by my plan to rescue this person in need.

Jon received four donations, including mine.

He was okay with it, but I was horrified. I couldn’t get over it. Five dollars?? Wouldn’t anybody give five dollars to a human being in such difficult circumstances? What the fuck is wrong with people?

I’m upset by indifference, even though I’m guilty of it all the time. I would like to see more compassion. Coincidentally, I just came across this study in how compassion and kindness can be taught and developed, literally changing the brain in the process.

More kindness would be great. The messages I’ve received from strangers who read my blog have often brought me to tears, just because kindness seems like such a meaningful gift. When we breathe in each other’s suffering and breathe out compassion, we are all that much closer to healing the unbearable pain of being human.

in out


*photo (c) Nandini Valli Muthiah

Sandy Hook Happy Meal

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

When I told [a family member] that 26 kids from Sandy Hook elementary school were going to sing at the Super Bowl, he was surprised and disgusted. I asked rhetorically why the survivors from the Aurora movie theater hadn’t been invited. He answered, “Because they’re not cute, and it would be harder to exploit a large group of them.”

He really gets it. Why don’t all Americans get it?

I’m tired of Sandy Hook grief porn. I don’t want to wait around for the Sandy Hook lego set and the Sandy Hook Happy Meal.  I have always been in favor of gun regulations and I’ve signed a million petitions urging legislators to stand up to the NRA. I didn’t allow my kids to have toy guns and and I have no regrets about it.

I wish that people could think about gun crime in America without needing to invoke a specific incident that then eclipses the real every dayness of homicide and suicide death by guns. You could fill the Super Dome with the people killed by guns in Chicago alone.

There were an average of 85 gun deaths each day in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including two accidents, 53 suicides and 30 homicides.

If Americans needed a good cry before the Super Bowl, they should have been forced to look at some paralyzed veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe the lights went out during the game because god is disgusted, too.

While I’m at it, I’d like to thank our media for showing us only that one photoshopped picture of Adam Lanza with the huge chin and the bugged-out eyes, instead of the one above that depicts a regular human boy with bad skin and a sad little smile.


Hair is All

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

Aside from life and death, hair is all that matters. A really bad hair situation will trump  everything else, and I mean everything.

Fucked up hair is excruciating. The pain is relentless. The knowledge that it’s your own fault makes it a source of  bitter self-loathing. “Why did I do this? Why wasn’t I satisfied with the hair I had?” Every encounter with a mirror is a fresh horror.

If both my legs were broken, I would still be wailing about my hair. If I had thirty seconds to live, I would scream, “But my hair looks awful!”

Fiscal cliffs, gun nuts, my dog’s toothache, our fine young men and women in Afghanistan, none of it matters like my bad hair. It was once long and luxurious and black, even though it was frizzy and brittle. Now I look like a Real Housewife from Somewhere.

If character is destiny, I’m a complete cunt. But I can’t go on like this. Tomorrow I’m going to try to change it back, or at least restore its brunetteness.

If you hate me, this should be a great moment for you. Enjoy! If you love me, then pray to the god of your understanding that my hair turns out okay.


Bad and Badder

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Watching the news tonight, I am struck by the word “evil” in reference to the shootings in Connecticut.

A disturbed 20 year old young man who lives with his mother, has no friends, hasn’t spoken to his older brother for two years and is remembered only for his nervousness and inability to fit in….that is not evil. I see no possible evil in this tormented soul.

A mother who hoards firearms and leaves them around her house, now that might be evil, since no one could be so astoundingly careless and stupid.

I am dreading the revelations to come.


Friday, October 7th, 2011

When I was little, I loved mermaids. I loved the illustrations in my book of Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales. I drew pictures of mermaids over and over, draping them in strings of pearls.

Now that I’m addicted to tumblr, I’ve discovered that mermaids are more popular than almost any other image. A mermaid also encompasses two hugely popular tumblr subjects: Tits, and women submerged in water. While tits need no explanation, the drowning women are disturbing.   Paintings of Ophelia tend to be lovely and melancholy, but depictions of modern women floating under water or laying dead in bathtubs are reminders that people like to see women in  jeopardy (if not actually dead.)

Mermaids are always beautiful and young, so that aspect of their attraction is obvious. In mythology and folklore, Mermaids are sirens who lure sailors to their death.   Do men find this danger seductive?

More important, mermaids have no genitals. Do men love them because of this or in spite of it? Does it relieve them of performance anxiety? I’m convinced that the anatomy issue is key somehow.

For me as a child, The Little Mermaid was a beautiful fantasy of a daughter who was loved by her family and showered with jewels.   I didn’t really understand why she would leave her home. I wanted a home filled with love and warmth. I didn’t feel good about her deal with the sea witch. The prince seemed kind of dimwitted not to recognize her or to intuit her love for him.

Later on, I remember reading The Little Mermaid to little Max, at bedtime. The book I read to him was an old unabridged translation of the original Hans Christian Anderson stories. It probably took several nights to get to the end, and I was so engrossed in the story that I forgot what was coming. I choked up with tears and tried to think of a way to spare Max the tragic last paragraph: The Little Mermaid threw herself overboard and turned into seafoam, comforted by some angelic sprites who asked her to join them. I think I made something up but I can’t ask Max.

Why do we love a story where the heroine sacrifices everything for love, even suffering constant  excruciating  pain, and ends up getting nothing but death? Until Disney changed the ending and turned a classic tragedy into a sappy feel-good product to sell other products, it was, for me, an inexplicably melancholy story.   It punishes a girl who seeks adventure and romance, so what else makes it such an enduring favorite?

Theories, memories, insults, anyone?

Life Goes On

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Isn’t is weird to see people going on about their business while a disaster devastates  one part of the world and a ruthless massacre takes place somewhere else? If you follow twitter, the incongruous tweets illustrate how most people go right on advancing their agendas and talking about what they’re wearing or what they ate, NO MATTER WHAT.

I know that humans are wired like this, wired for adaptation to nearly any  circumstances. Instead of celebrating this feature of humanity, I’ve always found it incredibly sad. People survive wars, torture, earthquakes,  amputations, every kind of loss. They learn to  absorb  these tragedies and and for the most past, we expect them to return to “normal.”

Even if we can’t go to Japan to help out, should we shrug it off and go right back to slobbering over shoes or worrying about our Klout scores?

I feel guilty, sad, angry, confused, and conflicted.

In my own life, I can’t move on and get back to business. It feels like a sin to even consider it.  Resilience  seems like a cruel joke.   But that’s what  survival is about.

I wish resilience for the  people of  of Japan, but less resilience for the people of twitter and elsewhere, who haven’t even missed a beat in the rhythm of their daily bullshit.

Thoughts or  advice?