Maryanne O’Hara’s daughter, Caitlin, was born with cystic fibrosis and died of the disease at age 33. She began chronicling the story first on a blog and recently published a memoir, Little Matches: A Memoir of Grief and Light (HarperOne). Tonight she’ll speak about her experiences and her memoir, and she will also conduct a short workshop on conducting life interviews, which is part of the legacy work she now does as a certified end-of-life doula. End-of-life doulas provide support and comfort to clients and their families at the end of life. She will share practical tips on the language to use, questions to ask, and framing that helps put the subject at ease. She was moved to do this work because, after her daughter’s death, she was left wondering why she hadn’t gathered up as much of Caitlin while she could. Made more recordings, asked more questions, given her daughter the power to author her legacy.
“This luminous, harrowing memoir reads like a mystery, even though we know how the story (heartbreakingly) ends. This is a tale of a mother’s devotion and grief, yes, but when I closed Little Matches, tears standing still in my eyes, I was left with a sense that I had met not one but two remarkable spirits, my world enlarged.” –Dani Shapiro.