A deeply emotional memoir by a longtime ESPN writer about the suicide of his son Max and how their complicated relationship led him to see grief as love.
In February 2015, Ivan Maisel received a call that would alter his life forever: his son Max’s car was found abandoned in a parking lot next to Lake Ontario. Two months and countless harrowing hours later, Max’s body was found in the lake. There’d been no note or obvious indication that Max wanted to harm himself; he’d signed up for a year-long subscription to a dating service; he’d spent the day he disappeared doing photography work for school. And this uncertainty became part of his father’s grief.
Taking its title from Max’s love of photography—and his tendency to only love the camera when he was behind it, looking away whenever his picture was taken—I KEEP TRYING TO CATCH HIS EYE tells the deeply human and empathetic story of a father’s relationship with his son, of its complications, and of Max and Ivan’s struggle—as is the case for so many parents and their children—to connect. And of how our tendency to overlook men’s mental health can have devastating consequences, and how ultimately letting those who grieve do so openly and freely can lead to greater healing.
The Two Jess(es) have the unique opportunity to talk with Ivan about grief, and how, at its most stripped down state, it is really born out of love.
Ivan Maisel is Vice President/Editorial and Senior Writer at on3.com. He has covered college football for nearly four decades, from 2002-2021 as a senior writer for ESPN, where he wrote for ESPN.com, appearing on television, ESPN Radio and on podcasts. He also served as Editor-at-Large for ESPN College Football 150. Prior to joining ESPN.com, Maisel covered national college football for Sports Illustrated, Newsday, and The Dallas Morning News. He has been honored eight times for Best Story by the Football Writers Association of America, and twice by The Associated Press Sports Editors, which in 2019 named him one of the 10 best sports columnists. Maisel earned a bachelor's degree in American Studies from Stanford University.