coping

On a summer day in New York Jonathan Santlofer discovers his wife, Joy, gasping for breath on their living room couch. After a frenzied 911 call, an ambulance race across Manhattan, and hours pacing in a hospital waiting room, a doctor finally delivers the fateful news.

Consumed by grief, Jonathan desperately tries to pursue life as he always had--writing, social engagements, and working on his art--but finds it nearly impossible to admit his deep feelings of loss to anyone, not even his to beloved daughter, Doria, or to himself.

Jonathan Santlofer is a writer and artist. His debut novel, "The Death Artist," was an international bestseller, translated into seventeen languages, and is currently in development for screen adaptation. His fourth novel, "Anatomy of Fear," won the Nero Award for best novel of 2009. His short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies. He is also the creator and editor of several anthologies including "It Occurs to Me That I Am America," a collection of original stories and art. His paintings and drawings are included in many public and private collections.

Jonathan will be a featured speaker at the Albany Book Festival on Saturday, September 29th @ 1-1:15. His talk is titled “How We Grieve.” And then on Sunday, September 30, Yaddo Presents Jonathan Santlofer at the Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs at 5 p.m.

Rebecca Soffer
Elaina Mortali

When Rebecca Soffer was in her early 30s she lost both of her parents - just a few years apart. While navigating the pain of loss and logistics that accompany death, she kept thinking that if everyone dies -- and everyone does -- why is noone alive talking about how hard it is to lose someone? She partnered with Gabrielle Birkner to create the website Modern Loss and start that taboo conversation.

The site features personal essays about the aftermath of loss that vary widely and show that: there is no right way to to grieve; a lot will come up that one couldn’t expect, both emotionally and practically; and that the sorrow doesn’t disappear just because a year or two passes.

Earlier this year, Harper Wave published Soffer and Birkner’s book which extends the mission of spurring the conversation and this Thursday at 6 p.m. The Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts presents “An evening of Modern Loss storytelling with Rebecca Soffer.”

The event will feature Joey Chernila, Jane Larkworthy, Courtney Maum, Emily Rapp Black, and Hannah Van Sickle.

Larry Ruhl’s new book, “Breaking the Ruhls,” is a profoundly personal account of the impact of complex trauma on a man’s life. Larry’s father sought comfort from his only son, blurring critical boundaries that would prove deeply debilitating. Larry’s mother, with her spiraling, ever-changing mental illness kept the family in a constant state of anxiety.

  Once vilified by pro-life and pro-choice supporters alike, Aspen Baker has shown that “pro-voice” might be the best method to move past conflict and hatred around abortion.

With her nonprofit, Exhale, she has demonstrated that it’s possible to get people talking respectfully even about the most polarizing topics.

Her new book is Pro-Voice: How To Keep Listening When The World Wants A Fight.

  Here is what happens at a Death Cafe - people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session.

To tell us more about Death Cafes in our region – we welcome: Barbara Sarah - Founder of the Circle of Friends for the Dying which has sponsored 21 Death Cafes in Ulster County and Laurie Schwartz, a Founder of Circle of Friends for the Dying.

They've been having monthly Death Cafe gatherings in Ulster County since August, 2013 and will be hosting one at the Rosendale Café in Rosendale on Sunday, May 31st.