Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Content Rating: PG for two languages use and use of F-word.
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.
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.