Wednesday 8 February 2023

Two Floors Above Grief by Kevin M. O'Connor + Guest Post


 

Book Details:

​Book Title:  Two Floors Above Grief: A Memoir of Two Families in the Unique Place We Called Home by Kevin M. O'Connor
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+),  318 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Publisher:  18th Floor Publishing
Release date:  November  2022
Content Rating:  PG for two languages use and use of F-word.   
Book Description:

As a child in the 1950s, Kevin O’Connor knew his house was different than those of his friends. A stately, three-story, nineteenth century Victorian. His bed tucked next to a stage in a former ballroom. His uncle and aunt lived with their three daughters on the floor below. A large electric organ stood stately in a corner of the first-floor mortuary business. Stacked caskets and an embalming room filled the basement.

Nobody had a house like his.

​Set from the 1920s to ‘80s, Two Floors Above Grief is full of fascinating details and anecdotes about his upbringing as a funeral home child, brought to vivid life through a compelling collection of letters written by various family members who lived and worked together at the O’Connor Funeral Home in Elgin, Illinois. Blending the twenty-four-hour business of death and its constantly ringing phone with joy experienced through music, radios, pets, backyard basketball games, co-parenting, faith, and celebrations, O’Connor offers a reflective tale affirming the love of family and embracing life.
Guest Post by Kevin M O'Connor
Birth and Death Occur Simultaneously in a Funeral Home Owner’s Family
In the funeral home vernacular, “death call” refers to the time a funeral home director goes to the place where a person has died. Dad went to St. Joseph Hospital for a death call on May 6, 1963. When Dad arrived, he realized he needed assistance because of the weight of the deceased. No one was available at the hospital to help. He knew my brother Barrett was at the hospital. Before Dad’s departure, Barrett had called to tell him he and his wife, Pat were on their way to the hospital for the birth of one of their first child. In the 1960s, fathers waited in a waiting room, not allowed to be part of the delivery process.
Dad was in a bind. My brother a person with body removal experience in the maternity waiting room. Did he dare ask him for help? Of course, he did. Dad opened the door to the waiting room and saw Barrett in a chair, reading the newspaper.
“Psst. Barrett.”
Barrett raised his eyes and looked at Dad. Grandpas in the waiting room? Unheard of.
“Dad, what are you doing here?
“How’s it going?” Dad asked.
“No news. I’m surprised to see you here.”
“Hey, I need your help. I need to lift a body onto the gurney. I can’t do it alone. Do you think you might be able to sneak away for a few minutes?”
“It will just take a few minutes, right?”
“Yeah. Come with me.”
Barrett was no stranger to death calls but not concurrent with his first child’s awaited birth. Nevertheless, he knew what had to be done. He followed Dad down the hall to the room in a nearby section of the hospital. He helped Dad lift the body to the gurney, closed the zipper on the body bag, and walked into the hall with Dad. They escorted the gurney with the body to the service elevator. He rode with Dad to the lower level and walked to the entrance where the hearse was waiting. He helped load the gurney. They said a quick goodbye.
“Thanks so much. I’m looking forward to your news,” Dad said. “Get on back upstairs. Love ya.”
Living in a funeral home, the connection between death and life was undeniably present. Dad drove back home and learned he was a grandfather. New life.

Meet the Author:

Kevin O’Connor enjoys chronicling the stories of families and friends through tracing genealogical histories and writing. His prior writing includes a dissertation, personal letters, articles, anthologies, and presentations delivered at conferences, seminars, and webinars. He brings people together personally and professionally. Collaborating with friends and relatives, he plans family and class reunions.

He sings and performs in theaters and is active with SMART Ride, a bicycling group that rides annually from Miami to Key West, raising funds for HIV awareness, treatment, and education. Kevin was an elementary teacher, principal, professor, and curriculum coordinator in California, Illinois, and Florida from 1973 to 2020. He authored content and provided training in areas including support for substitute teachers, LGBTQ advocacy, and Sexual Health/Family Life.

Kevin resides in Ft. Lauderdale with his husband, Leon. Their family includes five sons and seven granddaughters.

connect with the author: website facebook ~ instagram linkedin ~ goodreads 

Enter the Giveaway!


Win signed copy of Two Floors Above Grief: A Memoir of Two Families in the Unique Place We Called Home by Kevin M. O'Connor (one winner) (USA only) (ends Mar 3)

 

Two Floors Above Grief by Kevin M. O'Connor Book Tour Giveaway



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