The evening is sponsored by The National Center for Creative Aging, George Washington University’s Center on Aging, Health and Humanities, and Iona Senior Services.
A Conversational Reading with Wendy Miller from Sky Above Clouds: Finding our Way through Creativity, Aging and Illness Time
Before prostate cancer and the prognosis that originally gave him a year to live before dying set in, Dr. Gene Cohen and his wife Dr. Wendy Miller had moved in different, but parallel professional circles. He: a physician, a gerontologist and researcher, an international expert on creativity and aging. She: an artist and art therapist, a psychotherapist and expert on creativity and healing. Work and love brought them together, and when cancer threatened to tear them apart, it put their years of theory and clinical practice to the ultimate test. Through the outlier survival time of over 13 years, their private lives forced them to confront the harshest realities of aging, illness and eventually the limits of medical knowledge, and with them, their life’s work became their lifeline. In that most intimate laboratory of family life, their parallel worlds of work in creativity, aging, health and healing merged. In the crucible of illness, they learned that their research and clinical findings regarding positive change with aging as well as with illness were not just objectively true, or arms-length true. They were also personally true, in ways that saved Gene’s life and shaped their family’s life in profound ways. This is a personal narrative—a joint narrative by Gene and Wendy—illuminating the starkly different dimensions of their experience at the intersection of adversity and possibility. The story of that struggle, the challenges met and insights gained, is not just their story; it is the story of creativity as a catalyst for growth, hope, love, and healing at every age.
“Once men are caught up in an event, they cease to be afraid.
Only the unknown frightens men.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery