Madine Kunin: In my eighties I have evolved from being a politician to becoming writer and a poet. I see the world differently in my eighties than I did in my forties. As a public figure—ambassador, deputy secretary of education, governor, Lt. Governor—I was in the public eye. I had a public persona. I had to pull my words through a sieve to leave out what might offend or be too controversial.

I feel liberated in my old age and this book is the result. I opened up a new door and discovered I could be personal. I could write about what was happening to me: my body, my mind, and my emotions. Before publication, I grew anxious , fearing I had made myself too vulnerable. But to my delight, readers connect to what I have written. I find I am not alone in writing about life and death.