I am an accidental author, and I am a motherless daughter. My book, an account of my last year with my terminally ill and eternally wonderful mother, essentially wrote itself in the weeks of intense grief following her death in September 2009. Chapters poured out of me at all hours of the day and night, flowing directly from a broken heart to a blank page. I finished the manuscript in less than two months – in time to give it to my father for Christmas, his first without his wife and sweetheart of 52 years.
It is a story I never wanted or expected to tell, but now that it’s written, I am happy to keep my mother’s legacy of love and her joyful, generous spirit alive through its pages.
As soon as the book was written, I realized I had become a passionate advocate for hospice and compassionate healthcare. It is a role I embrace to this day, and I believe my advocacy for compassionate end-of-life care is another dimension of my mother’s legacy. I have been interviewed, asked to testify, and invited to give keynote speeches about terminal illness, joyful and purposeful living, dignified and peaceful dying, and moving through grief to gratitude. Some years ago I was invited to serve on the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare’s National Compassionate Caregiver of the Year Award Review Committee, a role I consider to be an incredible privilege because it allows me to encounter so many caregivers in myriad roles whose devotion to those in their care is so deep there are barely words to describe it.
Professionally I keep busy as a Connecticut-based management consultant; my solo practice serves nonprofit organizations of all sizes and missions. In previous stops along my career path I have been a corporate executive in the aerospace industry, a senior administrator at a private college, and an international trade negotiator in the executive branch of the federal government. (I am a walking advertisement for the value of a liberal arts degree. See where a major in German can take you?!)
I currently reside in West Hartford, Connecticut, and I grew up in nearby Longmeadow, Massachusetts. I am married to my high school sweetheart, Joe, who is an architect and a wonderful life partner. We have three grown sons, twin granddaughters whom my mother would have adored, and a sweet mini-goldendoodle whose unconditional love is no substitute for my mother’s but sure makes me feel good.
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