Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Evan David Kamida, July 30, 2000 – July 24, 2008

57 comments

All of us at Literary Mama are so stunned and saddened to learn of the death of columnist Vicki Forman's son, Evan. Most of us never met Evan, but we loved learning about his strength and spirit through Vicki's gorgeous writing. We will never forget the image of him playing music:

Although he cannot talk, Evan can sing at least four songs, on key and straight through to the end. If I begin one of those songs, "Jingle Bells," for instance, he will pick up where I left off, then finish it up for me. His riffs on the harmonica have made him into a favorite among his kindergarten friends at school. And the piano playing is beyond compare. He'll stand at the keyboard for half an hour at a time; every session includes a clearly recognizable composition of his own making, one that becomes more involved with each passing day. He practices distinct sections of the composition, one at a time, and then goes on to play the piece whole. If a friend overhears him while I am on the phone, the friend will nearly always say, "Wow, that kid knows what he's doing."

We are so grateful for Vicki's brave writing and glad that through it, we got to know, too briefly, this incredibly special boy.

If you would like to make a donation to a memorial fund, please click here.


Vicki Forman is the author of This Lovely Life: A Memoir of Premature Motherhood and
teaches creative writing at the University of Southern California. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart and has appeared in Philosophical Mother, The Santa Monica Review, Writer to Writer and Faultline. She lives in Southern California with her husband and child.


More from



I am so, so sorry to hear about this. Evan may have had some pretty daunting obstacles in his short life, but he did have the great fortune to have an extraordinary mother like Vicki at his side and in his corner. Because of Vicki's work and through her writing, Evan leaves behind a lot of people who have been touched, and moved, and most of all educated by his life and the place he carved in the world. I truly hope that his family can take some solace in the years to come that his short life was nevertheless a rich one, and that he had happiness, the happiness they were able to bring to him. All my warmest thoughts to Vicki and her family.
Vicki -- I am stunned, and I am thinking of you and yours. I have loved reading your column and knowing your son through it. Please know that you are in our thoughts. --Amy
I wanted to stop by here and offer my deepest, most profound condolences for this terrible loss. Vicki--Please know I am thinking of you and your family, and your beautiful boy Evan.
Dear Vicki, I have been thinking of you and your amazing family ever since I heard the news. Deepest condolences. Love, Ericka
What a lovely tribute, and such a stunning loss. Thank you, Vicki, for being so courageous and generous in sharing your journey with us. The journey does continue, of course, and I hope you know that you are surrounded with love and lifted up by your many faithful readers.
Dear Vicki, I am so sorry for your loss, and am praying for you here (in that other Canada). It was an honour to work with you on your column, and to learn through your beautiful writing, all about your beautiful boy. Love, Maria.
Evan was a true hero. His smile and his way about him...You were the best mommy that he could ever have! He was so lucky to have you to not be afraid to share your story, to have such strength but to have the courage to do what you do Vicki! You and your family are in my prayers and Evan will always be a part of my heart...he was so incredibly special to me and touched the hearts of all of us at UCLA!
Vicki, My deepest sympathies on the horrific loss of your beautiful son Evan. Even though I've never had the pleasure of meeting you or Evan, I feel that I know you a tiny bit better in recent months, after reading your essay in "Love You to Pieces" and being your friend on goodreads.com. 6 years ago, some very close friends of ours (who we had gotten to know through our family support work in the NICU) lost their precious 4-1/2-year-old son, Zacary. It was sudden, tragic, and possibly preventable. He had a heart defect and was a fragile child, but I believe that negligence in the ER led to his premature death. He probably wouldn't have lived forever, but he could have had several more years in him. The NICU nurses called us at 3 a.m. and asked us to come to the hospital, because our friends had no local family. We sat in the PICU with them as they held their boy all night long. My life has never been the same. I will never forget witnessing their anguish and bone-chilling grief, that night and in the days, months, and years to come. He was friends with my son (5 at the time), and Chris has never fully recovered from the loss either. So even though I cannot say that I truly understand what you are going through, I have had a tiny glimpse of it. You, your husband, and your daughter will be in my thoughts and prayers as you grieve the loss of beautiful Evan. He was so lucky to have you for a mother. Your writing will always live on as a beautiful testament to him. Holding you in my heart, Marie
i've come here for the last months to be nourished by your wisdom and your words.... and today i've read of your deep loss. i'm very sorry. with gratitude for what you and your son have given, tekeal
Dear Vicki and family, How heartbreaking to hear of Evan's death. My sincerest condolences. I'm grateful you introduced Evan to your readers and gave us a glimpse into your life and his. He will remain in our thoughts. Jane Bernstein
Sorry is too small a word. But I congregate among those who felt connected & uplifted by your writing about parenting/life & whose life is now saddened alongside you by your loss.
I don't have the words Vicki...Over the years I've been so moved by your writing. And through Evan's story I've learned to be a better mom to my son Elias. Please know an Alaskan family holds yours in our hearts. With love and sadness, Christy
Dear Vicki: I came by for the first time just a few day ago, and read all of your columns, after recognizing a kindred mother when you reached out so far as to recognize that mothers of all children, even ones who seem to have no troubles, are part of the greater tribe of motherhood and that we all share a fierce love for our children. My heart weeps for your loss.
Vicki, We were all so sad to hear this news. Your beautiful words about your son have expanded so many hearts and I, we, thank you for sharing your beautiful son with us. We are so much richer for having known him through your words and he will forever be in our hearts. Jen
I am terribly saddened to hear of your lost. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family.
Blogging makes you care about people you don't even know. Evan and I share a birthday - I'll be thinking of you all in the days to come.
There are no words. I feel punched in the gut. I wish I had something articulate to say to convey my condolences. Best wishes for peace, however and whenever that may come.
I am so very, very sorry.
The first time I met Evan he was being carried by you into preschool. Over the next couple of years I saw him express himself beautifully on the harmonica, he wielded his cane like a pirate and he ran from Gloria in the park! He taught my son words with his "all done" and "no" communication assistive device. And I saw you, Vicki, and your profound ability to advocate for Evan. You are an incredible force. Evan chose an amazing family. He will be missed but never forgotten - he has touched all of us and our children.
Blogging does make us care about many people we will never meet. Your writing is beautiful. May your memories bring you some comfort. All my sympathy. Alyson
I have a son with special need and your grace has inspired me and lifted me. Your courage, and Evan's courage, will live in my heart, always.
Dear Vicki-- My deepest condolences to you and your family. Thank you for sharing so much. --P
Dear Vicki, I am shocked and saddened by this news. I learned so much from Evan and you through your writing. Both of you have touched more people than you will ever know. My deepest condolences to you and your family. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
I'm so shocked and sad, I so looked forward to your column and hearing about your life with Evan. I'm so terribly sorry for your loss Vickie. My thoughts are with you.
Vicki I am saddened by your personal loss and that of your family. I can't imagine the void Evan's death will leave. But through your writings, it's apparent not only how Evan loved you; but also how he taught you how to love more honestly and completely. It all boils down to accepting a soul on their terms and loving them all the more. You illustrate that acceptance and unconditional love in your columns and essays. As a mother, I have been touched by them and thank you for sharing your life, peeling away the mysteries, the layers separating your tribe from mine. Thank you for sharing your core with me--with all of us. My heart goes out to you...and I pray that healing with it brings smiles and laughs to you over time as you remember Evan. Merle Huerta
I am so shocked and sorry. Your writing made me feel like I knew you and your son, and I wish I could express my sympathy in person. Thank you for sharing part of his life with us.
Vicki, I'll be reading all your archived columns in the weeks to come, getting to know Evan a little more each time. Thinking of you! K.
I can only wish for you and your family the same thing I would wish for my own. "May Evan find the joys of heaven to be greater than the joys of his own mother's loving arms." With heart felt prayers, Carrie Smith
Vicki, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Evan is a special boy and I'm thankful for your blogging about his story. Offering prayers and comfort, Tiffani
Your words have nourished all the mothers who read them. I would love to thnk it goes two ways, that your readers who care about you can send comfort to you and your family.
I have come to know Evan and your family through your powerful writing. I wish there really were words to express what I am feeling now. Thought and hugs to you and your family.
I'm so sorry. You are in my thoughts and prayers
There is nothing that I or anyone in this world can say to you to fix it or just make it better. Your loss is beyond words. I cannot understand except to say I am a mother and grandmother and I can't even approach the thought in my mind of that kind of loss. My hope is you will find some peace after a while.
I am so sorry for your loss. Much strength and love to you in the days ahead.
so very, very sorry.
I am sending you an anonymous but very large bear hug through webspace and letting you know I am truly sorry for your loss.
Vicki, I had just read your latest column the other day and was profoundly touched by your expression of being Evan's mother. Now I am so profoundly sad that Evan's earthly life is over. I hope you feel held in comfort by your community. Thank you for your honest, besutiful writing. Rachel
My thoughts and prayers are with you. You have shared your son with us and I am grateful. I believe that he is in Heaven and he is proud of having had you for a mother.
Vicki, my heart is just breaking for you. I can't even imagine...except I almost can, because through your amazing column you shared Evan with us, and beautifully. Thank you for that gift. May you be surrounded by comfort and love.
Oh my God. I can't tell you how much you are in my thoughts and prayers. This is devastating news. Caroline Leavitt
Dear Vicki, You and Evan have been a team educating the mothering community about special needs. You team member has now ascended, and I grieve your loss with you. Please know that your ability to appreciate Evan from the deepest place in your heart -- and to share that with us -- is an inspiration that will keep Evan's memory alive for generations to come. Blessings to you.
I am so sorry to hear this tragic news. I am thinking of you and praying for your family. Evan sounds like he was a window to heaven.
Vicki, I'm very sorry. Although I just recently started to read your work about Evan, it touched me deeper than you know. My prayers and those of my family go out to you and yours.
I am so moved by Evan's story and am thinking of Vicki in this time, praying for strength and peace. Much love, Stephanie
Vicki, Just sending a hug to you and your family.
My heart goes out to you, Vicki. Evan's life has been a gift to all of us SN moms through your beautiful words. Thank you for sharing. I send sympathy to your family. Lisa
Hi Vicki, i am here for the first time...and sadly because of this news. I loved seeing the images of Evan at the service, though i had never met him or had the joy of knowing him i had heard through the words of his father just how much he is loved. all of my deepest sympathy to you and your family, Vickie
Vicki - I was devastated to hear of Evan's passing. My thoughts are with you and your family as you move through this horrible place. As cliched as it sounds, know that he will be remembered through you and your stories, and that in "meeting" him through your words, he made a difference to many lives, including my own. Maria
Vicki--I am so sorry to hear of Evan's death. How hard you worked and how much you loved him! He will live on, because his stories are in the world, enriching those of us with special needs children. This is the gift he has given us, through you. My best to you, Fay R. (We corresponded not too long ago about writing about our children.)
Dear Vicky, I've been away from internet for the last two weeks and only just now learned of your loss. As a parent who has lost two children, I know that nothing I can say will ease your pain or make it easier to go on living and loving those who are close to you, but I can hold out the promise of beauty and joy in life revealed in ways you can't anticipate and might never expect, as unpredictable as your recent loss. With thoughts and prayers, Maggie
I check in here occasionally because you so beautifully express what I have been experiencing since our son's birth two years ago. You have helped orient me to this new, special needs, world. I am so sorry for your son's death - I cannot imagine how you are feeling, how your family is feeling. You are in my thoughts. Thank you for sharing your wonderful son with us. Cris
Dear Vicki, As the biological grandmother and adoptive mother of a special needs child, I have been so moved and encouraged by your wonderful writings. I truly felt a bond with you and and your precious son, Evan. There are no words to express my grief at learning of his passing. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, JoAnn
Dear Vicki and Family: I came across your writing through Literary Mama and was so touched by your writings regarding your son. We lost our daughter, Clare at 5 1/2 in Jan. of 2005. She wonderful as well as profoundly disabled. Your beautiful thoughts regarding your son articulated so many things I was not able to express. Thank you. I want you to know how deeply saddened I was to hear of your son's death. Please know you, your son and your family are in my thoughts now and always. I am so sorry. Katy Walsh
Dear Vicki, Your writing gave me a chance to know Evan, and your family, and you. Please know how deeply sorry I am for your loss. Faith Paulsen
Vicki and family--My family wishes you peace and comfort in this sad, sad time. Know that you honored Evan's life so beautifully in your telling of it, and that we feel the love.
Vicki Warmest hugs and prayers sent to you and your family. You are both an incredible blessing to all of us, in so many ways. Thank you for sharing so much of your lives, in such a poignant way. May God keep you and bless you in your profound loss; may He surround you with those who can support you in every way; may He continue to bless you in your gift, as you learn to walk this part, of this extended path. Celeste
Vicki, My heart breaks for yours and your family's. I am so deeply sorry. Your writings have been a beacon of light in my dark days and my wish for you is that you find someone to offer you hope now, just as you have to me. Thank you for being part of my tribe, and I wish you only hope and healing as you eventually reach out to your new tribe. Jen
Comments are now closed for this piece.