Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Yesterday MJ moved to the inpatient hospice...drifting in and out, surrounded by loving family. We don't know how long this phase will last, but here's what we do know:

she's comfortable
she's surrounded by people who love her deeply
she will be mourned by many


her Negotiation Academy will go on, in very capable hands.

We are planning a memorial around the end of March. It will take place in Pittsburgh, at a location to be determined. Details will be forthcoming on this blog.

We are collating thoughts and feelings about MJ and her life, to be bound for Sam, ZoĆ« and whomever else is interested. If you would like to contribute, feel free to use this blog, or contact our good friend Sara Laschever who will compile a book. 

You can reach Sara at sklasch@gmail.com or by phone at 617-899-3754.


  1. Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.

    ― Rabindranath Tagore

  2. Dearest MJ: As I am sure that you know, I am not so good with words (unless of course they are written by Sara) or at expressing how I feel. But telling you how much you mean to me is something that actually comes easily because you have had such a big impact on my life. You have taught me how to laugh rather than cry, how to bulldoze down roadblocks rather than approach them gingerly, and how to have a really great friend rather than just a good one. I love you dearly and will always hold you in my heart.


  3. My life has been forever changed by having MJ in it. She provided for me a solid, caring foundation from which to take on new challenges and shed old obligations.

    Thank you, dear friend, for being such a positive force in the world. Your passions have always been so strong, it was hard not to get swept up in them. We will continue those efforts through the Negotiation Academy for Women and through our daily efforts at making the working world a better place. You will live on through all the people you've touched. I count myself very lucky to have been one of them.

    With love, Laurie

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  5. Oh MJ,I want to say thank you, but those words are so small.

    I am grateful to you for believing in me when I didn't always believe in myself, for wanting me as part of your Primo Cohort, for persuading me to keep trying. Thank you for making such a welcoming space for each one of us, for creating this nourishing community that continues on.

    I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to bask in the wake of your infectious optimism and – as Claire calls it “loving-confidence” – confidence in yourself, in me, in all of us to be powerful, to use our talents in service of our dreams and to change our worlds as best we can.

    How proud I am to have quipped “WWMJD?” during Tracy’s presentation on mindfulness. Increasingly, though, as I realize the void that is about to open, I have been asking myself less What Would MJ Do, and more What Would MJ Want Me To Do? What would MJ want for me?

    Inner confidence rather than “reflected confidence.” Trusting the value already within me, stripping away the doubts, static and half-truths to identify core goals, and working to make them real.

    Whenever I don my WWMJD bracelet. I will renew that commitment in your honor, and in so doing keep you always alive in my heart -- just one of so many lives you have touched and pushed in a positive direction, so many in whom your legacy will long live on.

    ¡Que vive la MJ!

  6. Thank you dear MJ for gracing my life with yours.

    My heart aches for you-- sweet Zoe & Sam-- Your mom is too vibrant and needed here to be stolen so soon from your lives. And Jonathan, to you I send much love. It is such an injustice to you all.

  7. Dear MJ,

    Since Linda organized the "I Just Can't Say No" Club five years ago (with you, Linda, Laurie and Lise), you all have been my true north, showing me the way. MJ, you especially have taught me so much: how to recognize when I am not standing up for what I should, how to love friends so openly and celebrate them with joy and how to be more of the person I want to be. For that, and so much more, I thank you. You are a life force, MJ, and our journey together is not yet finished. Please find a place that sells $10 bottles of wine (if not great, then drinkable is good enough for us--and what do you expect for $10?), some fabulous hats, and a tiara or two--and wait for us. We'll be along in due time. In the meantime, I'll keep an eye out for you. I know you'll be watching. I love you. Brenda

  8. Sweet, sweet MJ. My brain will not stop thinking of you. Images from the past five years have no end… seeing you arrive at our first no-club meeting with the most gorgeous hat I’ve ever seen, dropping by with delicious chicken soup when we were both ill, coming over in PJs for an evening talk, repeated sweet wishes sent across Highland, evening walks around the park, magnificent champagne in perfect glasses, a wonderful summer night dinner in the middle of a storm, your incredible birthday party last year, your love of fresh baked bread, your pride in your magnificent family, your smile, your laughter, your unequivocal support and trust in me, your straight and concerned look when you asked me how I was doing. The thoughts and images of you have no end. You mean so much to me my dear friend…oh how I will miss you…sending lots of hugs and kisses across Highland.

  9. Dear friend, confidant, teacher, innovator, motivator...
    I feel so far away and sad to not be able to hug you one last time.
    I am angry at the speed of this and how it's just not fair.
    I am grateful for the short time I did have with you.
    I feel truly honored that your universe merged with mine for a short period.

    Dear Jonathan, Zoe & Sam...you are not forgotten and constantly in our thoughts over here. You have many around you to take care of you, but for now, may you find comfort in each other and may MJ's love keep you strong. You are the bravest people I know right now and the ones I hurt for. Please know we all love you and will be there whenever or if ever you need. Love from Paris. M&E

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  11. Each of us is broken.
    And none of us will be mended.
    Until we remember that we are unbreakable.
    You've had this remembrance, my friend, I know.
    The MJ that is MJ is unbreakable.Whole.
    That gorgeous soul I've known all too briefly
    has lit the world on fire so sublimely that
    your embers--still burning bright, still passionate--
    will inspire for decades to come
    and illumine the way for countless others.
    I love you.

  12. I feel completely unequal to the task of expressing my emotions about this turn of events. MJ, your impact on my life, in the (way too short) time I've known you, has been beyond massive. Your boldness, intellect, and fabulous personal style, combined with your unparalleled talent for intimate connection, have inspired me on so many levels. I'm furious and heartbroken that you won't be around much longer, but grateful to have known you, and sending mountains and mountains of love to you for this next phase.


  13. I am incredibly thankful for having known MJ and for having had the privilege of being part of her Negotiation Academy. What a gift that was for all of us! Her exceptional style and positive energy created such an amazing presence. In the short time that I knew MJ, she inspired and challenged me in a way that continues to impact my daily life. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with MJ and her family. Love, Connie Cesario

  14. I have had great difficulty communicating on the blog because it breaks my heart every time I think of my beloved business partner MJ. MJ-- it is 12 years since we first met and from the moment we began to talk I knew I wanted to join with you teaching lawyers to not only be better at their profession but to become better people. You have made my life incredibly rich with your intellect, warmth and true friendship. I honestly feel a part of your family and love not only you but my dear friends Jonathan, Sam and Zoe. You are and will be a part of me forever. Warren

  15. MJ, Please know that you've had such a tremendous positive impact on my life. You have inspired me (and so many others) to be a better professional, better mentor and better person. Your legacy will be that each of us from the First Cohort class will work hard to pay it forward, to earn what you've taught and shown us. Thank you for the opportunity. Mary

  16. Jonathan, just came across photos from the cohort's "graduation" in May. Check your or MJ's gmail account for Dropbox link.
    Thinking of you all constantly, sending thoughts for comfort, peace, rest.
    Hugs, Bonnie

  17. MJ, Jonathan, Sam, Zoe, we are holding you in our thoughts and prayers this week. Love to you all as you hold close to one another.

  18. Dear MJ, Jonathan, Sam and Zoe,
    I am sending all of you all my love. I am with you in my heart and thoughts.
    Carolyn Gordon