Letting Go of a Hero: a Post-9/11 Story

Sunset It was months after her father’s suffering was over that my friend mentioned he was a first-responder on 9/11. Her comment was off-handed, made at the end of describing how he’d collapsed and spent his final weeks in the hospital. I would not have thought there might be another cause of his pulmonary fibrosis. After all, he was 82.

She had been away so much to care for him—then wanted to be left alone when she’d get home—that I never had a chance to give her The Best Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life the sensitive and sensible guide for helping loved ones through the end of life. The author Ira Byock, a leader in the emerging field of palliative medicine, has a way with words. Though never sugar-coated, they are easy to swallow:

“We will encounter people whose lives we cannot save—diseases we cannot cure and injuries too grave to repair—but we can always make dying people more comfortable…to walk with patients, alleviating the person’s discomfort, optimizing his or her quality of life…” Continue reading

Being in the Cast of Listen To Your Mother

Listen To Your Mother. Although I couldn’t get my mind around exactly what the show was all about, from the moment I heard there were auditions in the D.C. area, I felt compelled to try out. We were directed to a nondescript hotel in the suburbs of northern Virginia. Despite indications that all was legit, my skin was crawling as I knocked on a door at the end of a long hallway on the ninth floor. But show producer Kate Coveny Hood and director Stephanie Stearns Dulli lived and breathed and couldn’t have been more welcoming and reassuring. I tried to stay calm as I delivered a story I wrote about my durable mom for a recent Mother’s Day. A few weeks later, when I learned I was a chosen one, I was excited and terrified. Reality finally struck that I’d be joining fourteen other writers on the stage of a full-sized theater complete with lights, camera and lively audience. Continue reading

Introducing the Durable Human Manifesto

Although The Durable Human Manifesto contains the word “revolution” (thanks to Foo Fighter Dave Grohl), it comes in peace as a declaration of human awesomeness and celebration of our supremely unique selves.

The goal is to embolden people to actively cherish and amplify the attributes we have as human beings that our smartphones don’t. 

The Manifesto’s welcoming design and striking images make it different from a typical publication. I hope you see and feel it like a breath of empowering fresh air.

I have already written a sequel to The Manifesto: How To Be a Durable Human: Revive and Thrive in the Digital Age Through The Power of Self-Design, but I’m still looking for thoughts and guidance on The Durable Human concept.

Reading The Durable Human Manifesto  takes about ten minures.  Download a copy directly for free here (no email signup required) or buy it in print on Amazon.

Learn more about  the author on Google+

Meet the DC Cast of Listen To Your Mother

copyright 2013 Jenifer Joy Madden When buying a bunch of flowers, I’m always happy when – peeking out – are the pinky green buds of an oriental lily. Over the next few days, I love to watch each unfold its sinuous leaves and relish their heavenly fragrance. I thought of lilies as I found myself planted in a cozy suburban living room with this year’s Washington, DC cast of Listen to Your Mother. We had been invited by Stephanie Stearns Dulli and Kate Coveny Hood, director and producer respectively of the yearly, live celebration of the grit, gripes and glories of moms in particular and parenting in general.

After enjoying a spread of cheese and artisan pizza artfully prepared by cast member and host, Lara DiPaola, we sat down to read our essays. One by one, we bared our souls, each offering her or his contribution to a diverse bouquet of stories: many were funny, some surprising, and a few could break your heart. Through the evening of tears, tissues and hugs, we created something beautiful together, born of our durable human traits of curiosity, creativity and compassion.

Continue reading

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