It’s with great sadness that we mourn the passing of blogger, wife, mother, lover of sourdough bread – Kristen Hansen Brakeman.
Kristen was the neglected youngest child of an engineer father and a homemaker mother, born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles. From an early age Kristen knew she wanted to be a comedy writer. While other kids curled up with Laura Ingalls Wilder and Nancy Drew, Kristen would read Woody Allen, Andy Rooney, or Erma Bombeck. In fact, upon seeing her reading the latter, Kristen’s older sister cruelly teased, “You know those books are written for forty-five-year-old women,” which naturally scarred poor Kristen for life.
Though she knew she wanted to write, Kristen suffered severe allergies whenever exposed to Birkenstocks, flowing skirts or Beowulf, which prevented her from majoring in English. Kristen instead chose Anthropology, which resulted in an unhealthy fascination with the fierce Yanamano tribe and also rendered her utterly unemployable.
So she postponed adulthood by attending film school and earned her Masters Degree in screenwriting (yes, they actually give degrees in that). After graduation, she worked her way up the ranks of the entertainment industry on variety shows such as the Glutton Bowl, The Rock n’Roll Hall of Fame, Comedy Central Roasts, Tsunami Relief, and the Academy Awards.
It was while working on one of the many Judds’ Farewell Concert tours that Kristen met her husband-to-be, Forrest Brakeman. Forrest, a former stand-up comedian and improviser, shared Kristen’s ambition of becoming a writer. They married, and together they set out to conquer Hollywood.
Naturally, they failed.
But they were successful in creating three beautiful, yet mouthy, daughters. Kristen embraced her role of softball mom, theater mom, and ignored-over-worked-exhausted mom.
Then one day, especially irked about the task of selling Girl Scout Cookies for her three daughters, the writing bug bit her once again. After a run of antibiotics, Kristen began writing humor columns and was soon published in the Washington Post, LA Parent, and Working Mother Magazine. Her blog, simply named Kristen Hansen Brakeman, earned her three Freshly Pressed honors and she also had guest posts in the CS Monitor, Scary Mommy and the New York Times.
This success encouraged Kristen to throw her name into the hat for the international blogging competition, Blogger Idol. She was thrilled when named a finalist. Because of Blogger Idol, Kristen attracted the attention of numerous agents and publishing houses and soon her dream of being a published author was realized.
Her book of essays, Where to Dump a Dead Body and Other Life Lessons, was celebrated for bringing the plight of the Sandwich Generation to light. Reviewers especially liked her essays “Don’t Call Me Ma’am,” “Chopper – Our New One-Eyed Mutt,” and “My Husband Got Prostate Cancer and All I Got Was This Stupid T-shirt.”
As is often true, with great success comes great tragedy. Kristen Brakeman, unfamiliar with the dangers of her new writer/rock star status, was ill prepared for the persistent ways of the pernicious paparazzi. They gave chase to her, and as anyone could tell you, Kristen could not run. With the warring tactics of the Yanamano long forgotten, Kristen had no tools to fight. Sadly, a Monty Python scene-ending 16-ton block fell from the sky and crushed her.
Kristen will be further memorialized as part of next year’s 24-hour long In Memoriam Emmy Special, where friends and colleagues will recall her love of obituaries, her distaste for drive-time radio ads, and her annoyance with online security questions. They’ll also undoubtedly remember their loving nicknames for her such as “Ice Queen,” “High Maintenance,” and Kristen’s personal favorite, “Skinny Bitch.”