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Sun., July 3, 2011, 7:03 a.m.

Lessons at death’s door

Just finished What I I Learned When I Almost Died by Chris Licht, former producer of Morning Joe on MSNBC. At 38, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage but came out of it with no brain damage.

He also came out of it as ambitious as ever and recently jumped to a new job at CBS. I liked that angle in the book that the near death experience didn't necessarily alter his passion for work. It just put it in a perspective. For instance, he says he now errs on the side of taking opportunities to do things with family and friends and one of his big regrets, as he waited in the hospital for test results, was looking back on some key times he chose work over relationships.

For instance, as his newborn was preparing to be circumcised, he was on the phone with work. He skipped a best friend's wedding because it was sweeps week.

Now, he emails people he hasn't connected with in awhile. He flew to Las Vegas and invited a good friend at the last minute. He made a long drive to catch a football game with his dad. And he finally understood how valued he was at work and in his personal life.

MSNBC regular Mike Barnicle told him: "You're able to see how loved you are without having to die." 

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.