THE ROADMAP

Stories about anticipating, planning for and navigating life’s twists, turns, tragedies, and triumphs.

Chuck Rescue

Chuck to the Rescue

Recently, I wrote a column about my doggie dilemma, in which I pondered whether I should to accede to my daughter Julia’s request to get a puppy, even though my instincts screamed DON’T DO IT!! Although I thought my capitulation was evident, I was wrong. I received several emails from readers who offered a reasonable…

A Dog Again

A Dog Again

September 2, 2010 The past months may best be characterized as a period of staggering loss for my family, accompanied by dramatic change, particularly for my youngest daughter and myself. A series of deaths, all involving the heart, rendered my children, their lifelong friends, and their cousins fatherless in the span of three months. Another…

Chuck

Chillin’ with Chuck

We humans are complex beings with lots of agendas. A case in point is my daughter Julia, who recently prevailed in her campaign to get a dog. As my son Jack (the one with the communication disorder) noted, our family has been shrinking, since his dad died in December and we put our dog to…

A Gift from Guatemala

A Gift from Guatemala

June 24, 2010 Before she set foot in Guatemala last month, Lauren Scharmer sensed her life was about to change. Her intuition was correct. Scharmer was one of 16 seniors and two chaperones from Convent of the Visitation School whose mission trip to Central America took an unexpected turn when a confluence of two volcanic…

Hair Loss is not the Worst Loss

Hair Loss is not the Worst Loss

June 6, 2010 As an appearance-conscious society, we are rather obsessed with our hair. We cut and color and change curly to straight to showcase our crowning glory. While a shaved head can be stylish on men (e.g. Taye Diggs, Chris Daughtry, and Bruce Willis), there is typically one gut-churning explanation for a bald head…

Choices: Bitter or Better

Choices: Bitter or Better

May 28, 2010 Earlier this month, Sgt. Joe Bergeron, a 26-year veteran of the Maplewood Police Department, was memorialized after being executed in his squad car. He is survived by a large family and many in law enforcement who are mindful that, on any given day, they could suffer the same fate. Such a cold-blooded…

Learning from What Vince Flynn Learned

Learning from What Vince Flynn Learned

April 29, 2010 Many recognize St. Paul native Vince Flynn as the creator of Mitch Rapp, protagonist in 11 bestselling, page-turning thrillers. How many know that, while words have been his ticket to success, they have also been his nemesis? Flynn was an average student at best because his brain played tricks on him. He…

Time to Make a Decision

Time to Make a Decision

April 16, 2010 I never thought of myself as a pet person. I was the last among my dog-crazy siblings to acquire one and did so only after my daughter Julia launched a relentless campaign that ended when we fell in love with a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Our life with Sara began with an…

A Road Map to a Life Well-Lived

A Road Map to a Life Well-Lived

March 12, 2010 It’s curious how we live life in denial, disregard, or even defiance of the one thing that is certain to occur to all. Death. It’s been 12 weeks since I got the phone call I’d strangely never anticipated. My husband, Ted, bearer of seven stents and survivor of a previous heart attack,…

Keanne Cameron, Volunteer Extraordinaire

Keanne Cameron, Volunteer Extraordinaire

January 15, 2010 When Pat Leseman was a young girl, her Italian grandmother told her, in broken English, that God sends everyone an angel or two in their lifetime. They do not come dressed in white and they don’t tap you on the shoulder to introduce themselves, she said. Rather, you must keep your eyes…

Recovery, In Concert

Recovery, In Concert

December 11, 2009 They were once parents, children, and friends who lied, stole, betrayed, neglected, and prostituted themselves to support their addictions. Many lived lives full of chaos and confusion and lacking in love and acceptance. Others came from stable homes with no history of addiction or abuse. On November 20, they were the 260…

Autism, Grief, and a Distinction that Matters

Autism, Grief, and a Distinction that Matters

November 15, 2009 It has been 16 years since we learned our son has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Since that time, I have traveled a very confusing and circuitous route. At the beginning, I stubbornly resisted one professionals’ opinion that the ASD would endure. But recently, I sought confirmation that our 18-year-old still has ASD.…