He wrote on Monday that since his son, Fisher Daniel Kayne, died — and Fisher’s twin survived — he’s found grief is a taboo topic “even in the era of the overshare.”
“It’s all very *sorry for your loss* and tilted heads and cards with calligraphy on them and whispering. we’re all on tiptoes all the time,” he wrote.
But grief is a “galaxy of emotions,” including anger and even some things that have made him laugh: “the funeral home handed us a receipt after our son’s funeral that said 'thank you come again’ at the bottom.”
He added: “I bet you have a friend with a sad story also wants to share the not sad parts.”
One of his “not sad” parts is that his wife became a pediatric intensive care nurse after Fisher died of sepsis. “Can you believe it?” he wrote. “being around sick and dying children all day? healing/caring for them? she does that because of my son.”
Kayne offered “a plea: *ask your sad friend about the sad thing that you never talked about.*" He added: “grief is isolating, but not just because of the sadness. also because the sadness is the only part about it that anyone knows.”
He ended with, “if you are grieving, you are not alone.”
Twitter responded in full force with more than 140,000 people reacting, many sharing their gutting stories of loss and grief, and offering support for one another.
“Sending you love,” wrote one person. “That was a brave thread. We lost our eldest son, aged 10, 15 years ago in December and our youngest son, aged 12, 9 years ago in December. We need to talk about them and keep remembering them.”
“Fisher is beautiful,” wrote another. “I’m sorry for your loss and your pain. My son died when he was 17. His name is Nick and he has been gone for 15 years. The wave of pain sweeps me away at the strangest times. We are in a special club, I guess."
In an interview, Kayne said he feels lucky to have his surviving son, Truman; his daughter, Willa, 7; and his wife. But the pain of losing Fisher is often silently present.
He said he’s started asking people about the loved ones they’ve lost, in more than a passing way.
“I’ve become more direct with people about their grief,” he said. “When you do that, people are like, ‘Oh man, I can talk about this forever.’ ”
He said he hopes part of Fisher’s legacy will be that he prompts people to talk about grief, even on social media, which he said can at times be “a nonstop volcano of darkness.”
“The best of social media is stuff like this, where somebody shares something that is meaningful and feels purposeful or positive,” he said. “It just feels good to write it and put it someplace. If it’s of service to people, that’s a benefit.”