A New York man has encouraged thousands of social media users to pour out their own grief after he went viral for a series of tweets on the anniversary of his son's death.
Michael Cruz Kayne, a comedian based in New York City, launched the now-viral Twitter thread on Monday, exactly 10 years after the death of his newborn son, Fisher.
The comedian, who told TODAY that his Twitter account is typically reserved for "incredibly stupid jokes" decided to get much more serious than usual.
"This isn't really what Twitter is for, but ten years ago today my son died and I basically never talk about it with anyone other than my wife," Kayne wrote. "It's taken me ten years to realize that I want to talk about it all the time. this is about grief."
this isn't really what twitter is for, but ten years ago today my son died and I basically never talk about it with anyone other than my wife. it's taken me ten years to realize that I want to talk about it all the time.— MCK (@CruzKayne) November 19, 2019
this is about grief
Kayne went on to describe grief as a "galaxy of emotions," noting that even in an "era of overshare," many people feel as though it's taboo to discuss tragic events.
"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.
So the comedian chose not to tiptoe. He wrote about the parts of his infant son's death that enraged him, confused him and even made him laugh — such as the fact that the funeral home he worked with gave him a receipt that read, "Thank you, come again."
Kayne then revealed that Fisher was a twin and that his brother, Truman, is alive and well. The comedian said he also has a daughter, adding that he, his wife and his two children discuss Fisher's death often.
"[Fisher] has a sister, who asked us to put an extra candle in her brother's birthday cake, and who led us in writing a story about her dead brother tonight," Kayne wrote.
He then expressed his desire to talk about Fisher's death with people other than just his family, and encouraged others to do the same.
"And maybe now, a decade later, I'm ready to contribute a tiny bit to his legacy also, with a plea: *ask your sad friend about the sad thing that you never talked about*," Kayne wrote.
"If you are grieving, you are not alone," he wrote in his penultimate tweet, before sharing a photo of his wife with Fisher before his death.
The thought-provoking thread inspired thousands of social media users to follow suit. Kayne's original tweet has now received more than 232,000 likes and more than 5,000 replies, many of which are from people with similar stories.
"My mom died almost two years ago, and none of my friends have lost parents. So I tried very hard to stop being The One With The Dead Mom because I didn’t want people to treat me like I had a disease anymore," one commenter shared.
"Our daughter died 23 years ago and we still grieve, we still talk about her. I grieved deeply from the beginning, hubby didn’t talk about it for 6 years then had a mini breakdown. We feel for you in your loss & I’m glad you are talking about it. It’s natural and therapeutic," another wrote.
Kayne, who told TODAY he often finds that people are afraid to ask him about Fisher, said he hopes the thread inspires people to be more open about their feelings — even if those feelings aren't always easy to breach.
"Everyone is different, but I like when people ask more than one question about Fisher," Kayne told TODAY. "A lot of people will ask one question and then try to move past it, because the answer is uncomfortable. I get that. But when they ask a second question, I know, 'OK. We’re really gonna talk about this.'"