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EndNotes

Life: The great blindsider

Over the weekend, I read Roger Rosenblatt's second book about dealing with the death of his 38-year-old daughter, Amy, a doctor who died suddenly of a heart condition, leaving three children and a husband behind. Rosenblatt, a well-known journalist and essayist, moved in with his daughter's family, along with his wife.

HIs first book, Making Toast, was spare but powerful. His most recent book, Kayak Morning, has a similar tone. Each book is short and a bit reserved. You want more after finishing them.

I loved what he said in an interview with Washingtonian magazine.

He was asked: “What have you learned about life?”

Roseblatt's answer: That it can blindside you. Everybody else learns this at an earlier age. I mentioned it in Making Toast. I was cursed with a charmed life, and very little bad happened—or at least very little bad happened that I didn’t bring upon myself. When Amy died, it was like, “Are you kidding? This is going to happen in life?” Since then, through the responses to Making Toast, through the responses of friends who had lost children, whom we didn’t even know had lost children, I began to understand what life meant—that life is to be endured. It’s not going from celebration to celebration or from satisfaction to satisfaction. It is basically an endurance test. Once you understand that for yourself, you begin to understand it for others.


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Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

Ask a question: Catherine welcomes questions about aging issues and grief. Email her at endnotescolumn@gmail.com.

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