Friday, November 30, 2007

Regrets to NY and Goodbye to my Cousin

A few months back, the good folks at the Barnes & Noble in New Hartford, NY welcomed me to do an author event at the height of the holiday season. They printed up posters, sent out press releases, and stocked up on my beginner's guide. You can imagine how guilty I felt calling their community relations manager this week to cancel.

Unfortunately my cousin, Christopher Mastrangelo, age 40, died this week from an aggressive form of brain cancer, and his funeral is tomorrow. Although Chris and I didn't have a lot in common (he worked as a financial analyst for the company who owns Nestle, just to give one wry example of our different universes!) I am saddened and shaken by the loss of this family member who has had a steady presence in my life. Chris and I have shared practically every Christmas together because his mom--my aunt--and my mom are very close sisters. I have been lucky over the past several months to see Chris regularly as he battled his cancer with the help of doctors at NIH and health professionals from Capital Hospice. (This is a photo of Chris after his surgery with his niece Madison.) I was struck by his bravery, his acceptance, and the clarity of his desires for the rest of his time. To witness such a dignified passing somehow makes the passing harder.

Chris was a big reader until he lost the powers of concentration, and I think he'd be glad to know that B&N is planning to reschedule my book event for the spring. I thank B&N and any folks who may have planned to discuss Fair Trade tomorrow for your patience, and I thank Chris for his example.


  1. I am sorry for your loss. I offer you my sincerest condolences.

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