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general interest reporting by allison gilbert

O, The Oprah Magazine: Why Looking at a Photo Can Ease Loneliness and Grief

o-mag-november-coverIn the photograph, my mother and I are sitting on the stone lip of a large circular fountain in Paris. Shoulder to shoulder, we’re leaning into each other, fingers interlaced, my head tilted toward her cheek. It’s Saturday, August 31, 1985, and I’m 15 years old. We are in the Tuileries Garden, giddy tourists on a mother-daughter adventure that began just that morning when we landed in France from New York.

Studying the photo now, I see not just that moment, but so many other joyous times I shared with my mother: horseback riding in Central Park, the raucous annual holiday parties she hosted.    Continue Reading or View on Oprah.com

Daily Beast: Motherless Daughters and Parentless Parents Trek to the Andes to Aid Orphans

When author Hope Edelman and I started planning a trip that would take 16 of our readers to Peru to work in an orphanage and hike the Andes, we ignored concerns about bringing together a group of women who didn’t know each other and convinced ourselves it was a great idea. Our confidence bubbled up partly because our readers share an important bond that links them to each other and us: We’ve all lost our mothers, and many of us have lost our fathers, too. It also seemed like an exciting way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hope’s pioneering book, Motherless Daughters. But mostly, we just took an enormous leap of faith. Continue Reading

CNN.com OPINION: Journalist and survivor: The rules blurred on 9/11

A continuous shower of debris rained on my head, shoulders, and back. I couldn’t tell when it would end because I couldn’t even see my hands. Feeling around my surroundings with my fingers, I determined I wasn’t trapped. Within minutes, a triage tag was forced around my neck and I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Doctors in the ER cut off my clothes and stuck a tube down my throat to see if my lungs were burned. They weren’t. I was mostly fine. One of the lucky ones. Continue Reading

Daily Beast: How 9/11 Made Journalists Part of the Story

On Monday, I’ll get to see my triage tag in the 9/11 museum—a reminder of the day I reported live from a hospital bed.
There’s a small piece of paper at the new National September 11 Memorial Museum with my name scrawled across the top. Underneath my name, in black ballpoint pen, it says: Abd pain; Diff breathing; Inhalation.

The triage tag put around my neck on 9/11 will be on display when the museum opens to the public Wednesday, May 21. Continue Reading

HuffPost: Why I’m Giving It All to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum

The National September 11 Memorial Museum opens to the public today. Timed to this historic moment, co-editors of Covering Catastrophe: Broadcast Journalists Report September 11 have legally transferred all publishing rights to the Memorial & Museum to support its work in perpetuity.

The Museum, before it even officially opened its doors, came under attack for having a gift shop, the same store where Covering Catastrophe will be sold. Former FDNY Deputy Chief Jimmy Riches accused the Museum of “making money off of my son’s dead body.” Continue Reading

WestchesterMagazine.com: 9/11 Survivor Allison Gilbert On The New September 11 Museum And Covering Catastrophe

From almost any spot at Scenic Hudson Park I can see where I nearly died on 9/11. The scene is often unavoidable for me: I live in Irvington and during baseball season that’s where I go to watch my son play home games for his Middle School team. With my back to the Hudson, I wouldn’t trade the view for the world.

Nearly thirteen years ago, I was a producer at WNBC-TV and was sent to Lower Manhattan. At 10:28am, when the second tower collapsed, I was thrown to the ground by a torrent of glass and macerated cement. Continue Reading

CNN.com Health: Why More Women are Choosing Double Mastectomies

Ten months ago, Vanessa Thiemann lay in bed unable to sleep.

The 42-year-old single mother of two had a sinus infection, and the pain was making her restless. She tried getting comfortable on her left side, then her right, but she ended up staring at the ceiling in complete darkness, her left hand coming to rest on her chest….Continue Reading

Parenting Magazine: Grief – Death of a Child

When it was revealed yesterday that 8-year-old Martin Richard was one of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, Aren Almon Kok felt an immediate, sickening tightness in her gut. She’s never met the Richard family and lives nearly two thousand miles away.

But she may understand more than most of us what Martin Richard’s father is likely going through right now while his wife and daughter remain severely injured following the attack….Continue Reading

 

CNN.com Living: Alleged Nanny Killing Evokes Mother’s Greatest Fear

Months before my son was born, I began searching for a nanny. The prospect of leaving my first child home with a stranger while my husband and I worked wasn’t ideal, but the only day care center in our neighborhood had a year-long wait list and our families weren’t in a position to help. Entrusting Jake, now 12, to a babysitter seemed like our only option…Continue Reading

HuffPost: Parentless Parents – Best Tools for Remembering Our Parents

My dad would have been 73 in June. I often wonder what he would he look like if he were still alive. Would he still be working as an architect? Would he be traveling as much as he once did?

My father died just three days after September 11th — his body, as I’ve shared here in earlier posts, was hijacked by a different kind of terrorist: Lung Cancer….Continue Reading