Two Floors Above Grief
As a child in the 1950s, Kevin O’Connor knew his house was different than 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 in a corner of the first-floor mortuary business. Stacked caskets and an embalming room in the basement.
Nobody had a house like his.
Author, Speaker, Facilitator
Kevin O’Connor enjoys chronicling the stories of families and friends through tracing genealogical histories, writing and picture collections. His prior writing includes personal letters, articles in professional publications, dissertation, 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 near his home. He is active with SMART Ride, a bicycling group that rides annually from Miami to Key West, raising funds for HIV treatments and education. He was an elementary teacher, principal, professor and curriculum coordinator in California, Illinois and Florida from 1973-2020
He references further connections to this book, continues his stories, and highlights perspectives about his interests on this website.
About the book
Set from the 1920s to ‘80s, Joy Above the 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 O’Connor and 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 the joy experienced through music, radios, pets, backyard basketball games, co-parenting, faith, and celebrations, O’Connor offers a reflective letter affirming the love of family and embracing life.
This family tree representation is also contained in the book. The tree is designed as a way for readers to connect the names of characters mentioned in the book’s stories with family lineage and history. Five generations are represented in this...
Suggestions for General Discussion Stories in Two Floors Above Grief: A Memoir of Two Families in the Unique Place We Called Home beg to be read aloud. Read your favorites in your group or to a family member or friend. Share which stories or...
Final Bedtime Conversation The last time I saw and talked to my father was thirty-eight years ago today. September 7, 1984. A Friday evening. He was in hospice care after a two-year battle with prostate cancer. My mother, two brothers and I had him...