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Reimagine Virtual Candlelight Vigil with Suzanne Finnamore and Dr. Su Yon Pak

Hosted by Reimagine

Let's honor our loved ones, hold space for grief, and reflect on the possibilities of transformation with Suzanne Finnamore, author of "My Disappearing Mother: A Memoir of Magic and Loss in the Country of Dementia", and Dr. Su Yon Pak, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean at Union Theological Seminary.

Reimagine has been hosting candlelight vigils throughout the pandemic in order to break down taboos and hold space for all that we've lost. Tonight's program features bestselling Latina author Suzanne Finnamore. She will discuss her new memoir, My Disappearing Mother: A Memoir of Magic and Loss in the Country of Dementia with Dr. Su Yon Pak, co-editor of the anthology Sisters in Mourning: Daughters Reflecting on Care, Loss, and Meaning. To come to terms with her mother’s symptoms, Suzanne Finnamore conceptualizes dementia as an actual, albeit rather magical, place, “like the Acropolis or Yonkers…a place where beloved and ancient queens and kings retire, where linear time doesn’t exist, and the rules of society are laid aside…. Whenever I go to my parents’ double-wide in Hayward, California, I am really traveling to Dementia.”

Suzanne Finnamore

Suzanne Finnamore was born in Los Angeles and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 1982 with a degree in English Literature. She has published four books and has been translated into twenty languages. Her debut novel was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Author selection. Her second book was a Washington Post Book of the Year in 2002. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Mademoiselle, Glamour, Marin Magazine, PoetryNow, the San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, and has been included on several Oprah reading lists. She lives with her very last husband, Tom, and their two little dogs. @sfinnamoreluck

Dr. Su Yon Pak

Dr. Su Yon Pak is the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean at Union Theological Seminary. Before she came into this role, she directed the curricular and co-curricular work field education, chaplaincy concentration, clinical pastoral education, life-long learning, and ministerial formation.

Native of South Korea, Dr. Pak immigrated to NYC at the age of 10. She is a loving mother of two daughters, a proud grandmother of two granddaughters and a grand puppy, and a devoted partner to Kathy. A spiritual director grounded in contemplative practices, she sees her artistry as an expression of her embodied theological praxis. Her recent book Sisters in Mourning: Daughters Reflecting on Care, Loss, and Meaning co-edited and co-authored with Rabbi Mychal Springer (Cascade Press, 2021) is one such expression of her artistry. Her writings and poetry are a theological reflection on her experience as a queer Korean American immigrant cis-gendered woman. More recently, her writings have focused on aging, dementia, and contemplative desires as her journey with her mother with Alzheimer’s Disease offered her an invitation to contemplative traditions. She intentionally practices collaborative work with a deep conviction that we are wiser together than alone.

Hali Breindel

Hali has had a varied career with a background in film, performance art, video producer, photographer (Mademoiselle, Self, WWDaily), costume designer (film & TV), and psychotherapist (NYU Graduate School of Social Work). She has worked passionately as a dedicated activist and advocate, supporting the fight against AIDS with Act Up, rallying supporters to women’s health and social justice through the Women’s Action Coalition (WAC), promoting experimental theater on an Advisory Board for the Wooster Group and fighting for progressive democracy after the 2016 election as an initial member of the grassroots, women-led Wednesday Group. She honed her community-building skills with years of volunteering at her children’s schools, leading fundraisers and auctions. When not contributing to the fight for American democracy or building out a network of support for fellow daughter caregivers, she revels in time seeing art, watching films and with her family... Laughing, cooking, hiking, counseling and caring.

About Reimagine

Reimagine is a nonprofit organization catalyzing a uniquely powerful community–people of different backgrounds, ages, races, and faiths (and no faith) coming together in the hopes of healing ourselves and the world. We specifically support each other in facing adversity, loss, and mortality and – at our own pace – actively channeling life's biggest challenges into meaningful action and growth.


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