In grief we not only mourn the passing of someone we love, but also revisit our former losses.
A Night on Buddy’s Bench emerged from our family’s experience with death. Within a period of just a few months, we lost Esther, my highly functional ninety-three-year-old mom; Rose, our adorable three-year-old cousin; and our very vital seventy-eight-year-old Aunt Kay. We were fortunate to be supported by wonderful Hospice caregivers, who helped us begin to let go of fear and learn instead to be present to our loved ones’ end-of-life journeys.
I initially wrote to explore my ideas about the purpose of life in the face of loss. The story flowed easily and soon became a family project. We created this picture book to realize our experience as a touchstone for ourselves, our family, our friends… and now for you. In sincere gratitude, profits from the sale of A Night on Buddy’s Bench will be donated to Hospice and other charities that support families experiencing loss.
We created an audio version when we learned from Hospice friends that the ability to hear and
process language often remains even when people are close to death or seem unconscious. The audio drama evocatively captures the lush sounds of an ocean island and harbor along with an original music score.
A Night on Buddy’s Bench is set on a magical (but quite real) island ten miles off the coast of Maine – a place of haunting winds, brilliant orange – purple sunsets, fairy houses hidden in the moss and ferns of great cathedral woods. There on the edge of the landscape, hunkered down like a monument for lost sailors facing the vast open sea, stands an old cedar bench that my wife and I have visited many times.
We hope that reading, listening to, and sharing A Night on Buddy’s Bench helps you and your loved ones reflect upon and honor the end of life and transition to death as a sacred place and time.
In loving memory of –
Phil and Esther Baumgarten, two salty sea dogs who provided safe harbor to many a traveler on a stormy night.
Rose Morrissey Engel
Katherine Bonville Freeh
“When the heart grieves what it has lost, the spirit rejoices over what it has left.”
Ancient Sufi Proverb
Ira Baumgarten, Author
Ira is a Diversity and Organizational Development Consultant. He has a Master Degree in Adult Education from Syracuse University. In his work with labor unions he helped bring creative writing programs to workers. This is his first published work. He and his wife, Nadine are annual visitors to the islands of Maine.
Ann Bonnville Trombly, Illustrator
Ann is a self-taught artist. She lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York with her favorite Tibetin Terrier, Tai.
Anthony Michael Lopez, Actor (audio version)
Anthony is an adept actor in high demand with NYC directors, writers & filmmakers. Recent: NBC New Talent Showcase, promo spots for Heineken, Subway and CVS. Supporting Lead in “Anomaly,” a short film by Salomon Ligthelm and Dan DiFelice. Recently seen Off Broadway in Agatha Christie’s “The Unexpected Guest” at Theatre Row in NYC.
Sharon E. Cooper, Producer/Editor/Director (audio version)
Sharon is an internationally produced and published playwright living in New York City. Her work has been seen in Germany, Hungary, England and India and across the United States. She couldn’t be more pleased to be working on this beautiful, important, multigenerational project. www.sharonecooper.com
Nick T Moore, Sound Designer/Composer (audio version)
Nick is a New York based Off-Broadway sound designer, composer, pianist, and teaching artist. His work includes: the Off-Broadway New York premier of the Award winning Canadian play, The Drawer Boy (IT nominee, best sound) – SoHo Playhouse/Oberon Theater Ensemble; The Oberon Theater Ensemble productions Keep on Truckin’ It’s War & Starship Astrov (MITF nominee outstanding sound): He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Resonance Ensemble, and is also a Master Teaching Artist at Roundabout Theater Company.