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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


SATURDAY, JAN. 10, 2015

Catherine Johnston, left, and Rebecca Nappi (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

EndNotes Ending

Rebecca Nappi and I began writing EndNotes in March 2011 as a bi-weekly, syndicated column on grief, loss, and suffering. We listened to readers, colleagues and friends as they asked questions about etiquette surrounding suffering, death and dying, and loss. “What do I say in...

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THURSDAY, JAN. 8, 2015


Gary Singer in 2011. (File)

Paraguayan symphony

Gary Singer of Spokane offered opportunity and hope to Paraguayan children who live in a garbage dump when he decided to donate a stockpile of musical instruments to their orchestra. A 60 Minutes story profiled children playing Mozart on instruments fashioned from garbage. Singer died…

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MONDAY, JAN. 5, 2015

Pope Francis is helped wearing his skull cap as he arrives to celebrate the new year's eve vespers Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014. The traditional Mass on Dec. 31contains the thanksgiving hymn ''Te Deum' for the ending year and is the last public appearance of the pope in 2014. (Andrew Medichini / Associated Press)

Pope names new guys

Pope Francis has named 15 new cardinals to the Catholic Church – and they are not from lands of the usual suspects. Most of the new leaders come from lesser-represented areas like Tonga, New Zealand, Cape Verde and Myanmar. The appointments reflect the diversity of…

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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 31, 2014

Morning fog covers the valleys near Bernbeuren, southern Germany, at sunrise early Thursday June 26, 2014. (Karl-josef Hildenbrand / Dpa)

Good news

With all the tragedy in the news, one has to wonder what evil deed people will commit next. But Melissa Finnell’s action gives one hope. Melissa saw a car upside down in Tacoma on Saturday. The car was in a water retention pond. And while...

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SATURDAY, DEC. 27, 2014

The St. Peter's Basilica is framed by the 30 meters (98 feet) Christmas tree that was lit for the first time at the Vatican, Friday  Dec. 16, 2011. The tree was supplied by Ukraine. (Gregorio Borgia / Associated Press)

Moving Mom 

Over the last several weeks I have been home, in Minnesota, where my mother lives. In November she was taken to the hospital after she fell and pushed her Life Alert button. With four daughters living far away, she recovered at home alone, but she...

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TUESDAY, DEC. 23, 2014

British singer Joe Cocker performs on a television show in Munich in March 2002.

Rocker Joe Cocker 

The raspy-voiced British rocker, Joe Cocker, has died of lung cancer. He was 70 years old. Cocker was a symbol of the rock era of the 60s and 70s. Perhaps his greatest work was that of the Beatles’ song “With a Little Help from my…

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SUNDAY, DEC. 14, 2014

A Christian pilgrim touches a column inside the Church of the Nativity, believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the town of Bethlehem on Tuesday. (Associated Press)

Oh, that Jesus! 

On the this Sunday of Advent,I give you a poem, written by L. Patrick Carroll of Seattle. He shares his words each year at this time - a holy gift for this season of waiting, for light, for hope, for the kid next door. Since…

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FRIDAY, DEC. 12, 2014

Slices of light

While Advent continues toward Christmas, we look for slivers, slices of light. And when we see light, hope arrives. My friend has stage four cancer. She worries she will never meet her grandchildren so she knits her love into baby sweaters. She has four sweaters…

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THURSDAY, DEC. 4, 2014

Among the many family Christmas traditions: Lighting candles on an Advent wreath.  (File / The Spokesman-Review)

December Darkness

These December days feel dark with violence in the streets, angry unsettled people screaming. A starving teen of 35 pounds clings to life; a boy hidden behind a wall in his own father’s care finally reunites with his mom. If ever we needed light in…

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FRIDAY, NOV. 28, 2014

An unusual July rainbow appeared at dusk as rain showers arrived over the Spokane region on Tuesday night. (Mike Prager)

End-of-life hilarity

My mom and Mary met in seventh grade and remained best friends for decades – until Mary’s death from Leukemia. They shared secrets and opinions and their mutual outrageous humor. They even shared their funeral wishes hoping those wishes would be followed. “But our kids…

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TUESDAY, NOV. 25, 2014

Wheat churns as it is harvested by Joel Zwainz’s combine on Monday.

Thanksgiving – a day for grace

Anne Lamott writes: as a child she never said grace at her family’s table, but was drawn to her friends’ homes where people paused and recalled blessings before scarfing down the vittles. Thanksgiving is a holiday for every American, no matter their religion – or…

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FRIDAY, NOV. 21, 2014

THURSDAY, NOV. 20, 2014

Director Mike Nichols arrives at the premiere of "Closer" in the Westwood area of Los Angeles. "Closer," which opens Friday, is directed by Nichols and stars Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen. 
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

Mike Nichols, director, dies at 83 

Mike Nichols died suddenly Wednesday of cardiac arrest. He was 83. Nichols was an admired and award-winning director. His genius earned him Oscar, Emmy and Grammy awards. He won nine Tony awards. Stars loved him: Jack Nicholson, Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, Ron Silver, Anne Bancroft,…

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WEDNESDAY, NOV. 19, 2014

Paper snowflakes are each just as unique as the snowflakes falling outside.  (Maggie Bullock)

Snowflake babies

When couples long for a child and are unable to conceive, they seek various options. Liz and Kevin Krainman opted to “adopt” a snowflake baby – a frozen embryo that was implanted into Liz. The frozen embryo is considered “property” and the rights of the…

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SUNDAY, NOV. 16, 2014

Duncan Cooper, 10, will see his drawing “A Rainbow in Ireland” published in the October issue of the children’s magazine Highlights for Children. Cooper is in fifth grade at Cataldo Catholic School and the son of Noah and Terese Cooper.

Poignant grief

Some stories feel too painful to tell, yet they are extraordinary tales of human compassion and resurrection of the spirit. Chris Picco buried his wife, Ashley and their son, Lennon, on Saturday. Chris met his wife while they were both assisting firefighters after the September…

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FRIDAY, NOV. 14, 2014

Airport employees prepare aircrafts of the airliner Lufthansa at the airport during an eight-hour warning strike of Lufthansa pilots in Munich, southern Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. (Matthias Schrader / Associated Press)


I have been away for nearly three weeks. Traveling home to my native Minnesota and then to the Caribbean with friends from high school, offered perspective. St. Augustine wrote: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” Conversations…

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MONDAY, NOV. 10, 2014

Les Rose, left, and Jay Via, who served in Afghanistan at different times, decided to run more than 13 miles with an American flag, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 in Troy, Ohio. "We're doing it to honor all veterans," Rose said. (Anthony Weber / Troy Daily News)

Veterans: Thank you! 

Today we honor our veterans, men and women who left their known lives to serve our country. May we honor all those soldiers who courageously walked into the unknown to serve America. No matter the act of remembrance - free drinks at a local restaurant,…

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FRIDAY, NOV. 7, 2014

Jessica Shinn, a third-year pharmacy student at WSU Spokane, puts a bandage on nursing student Addie Burkhart after giving her a flu shot during a health fair on Thursday at the Riverpoint campus in downtown Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland)

Time to get shot 

While Ebola has hit the headlines, we must pay attention to a bigger threat to our health: the flu. Each year that illness claims thousands of lives. People over age 65 and younger than 2 years are at higher risk than others. Anyone who lives…

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TUESDAY, NOV. 4, 2014

American Flag


A previous supervisor told me her husband never votes, never has, never will. And because I wanted to remain employed, I said simply, "Oh, that is interesting." And kept my opinion quiet. He doesn't vote because he believes his vote does not count. Try telling…

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MONDAY, NOV. 3, 2014

Pedestrians walk through a gate on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Dozens of Harvard University students are being investigated for cheating after school officials discovered evidence they may have wrongly shared answers or plagiarized on a final exam. Harvard officials on Thursday didn't release the class subject, the students' names, or specifically how many are being investigated. (Elise Amendola / Associated Press)

A child's dreams come true

Justus Uwayesu started at Harvard this fall as a freshman. He has traveled a long distance – across the globe and through a sea of sadness. As an orphaned child, he lived in a garbage dump in Rwanda. Then along came Clare Effiong, an American…

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SATURDAY, NOV. 1, 2014

A chocolate and raspberry heart cake from chef Wendy Kromer-Schell.

All Saints' Day

Art Miller, 91, hung onto life in the open sea for two days during World War II. He knew he had to get home to Norma, the love of his life. He did. They married, raised their children and traveled after his retirement. When we…

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THURSDAY, OCT. 30, 2014

Spokane River at sunset. (Craig Goodwin)

Time capsule moments

When Kelvin Peters was diagnosed with terminal cancer, his young daughters knew they would miss many special moments with him. They knew he would never dance at their weddings. Kaitlin Peters, 21, could not miss that special moment with her dad. She knew her two…

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MONDAY, OCT. 27, 2014

FILE - This June 15, 2007 file photo shows actor and comedian Robin Williams posing for a photo in Santa Monica, Calif. Williams, whose free-form comedy and adept impressions dazzled audiences for decades, died Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in an apparent suicide. Williams was 63. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

Robin Williams – a Giant among us

The three children of comedian Robin Williams were on the pitcher’s mound at the World Series. Zak Williams, Robin’s son, threw out the first pitch of the game. Robin’s dear friend Billy Crystal acted as catcher. As we continue to seek answers to mental illness,…

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SATURDAY, OCT. 25, 2014

Duncan Cooper, 10, will see his drawing “A Rainbow in Ireland” published in the October issue of the children’s magazine Highlights for Children. Cooper is in fifth grade at Cataldo Catholic School and the son of Noah and Terese Cooper.

Compassionate kindness to Marysville Pilchuck 

Sometimes in the middle of horrific tragedy, like Friday’s shooting at Marysville, kindness offers hope. The Oak Harbor football team was slated to play Marysville Pilchuck Friday night in a championship game. But all school activities were cancelled. In the evening, as the Marysville football…

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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.