Jennifer A O'Brien


Jennifer O’Brien helps people talk about caregiving and end of life. She encourages compassionate, real conversation through her book, "The Hospice Doctor’s Widow: A Journal," where she shares her story of caregiving through collages and writings. 

After years of caring for people with serious illness as a physician, O'Brien's husband, Bob Lehmberg, was diagnosed with a stage IV, metastatic cancer. But caregiving for the man who had made a 40-year career of caregiving as a physician was not easy. When O'Brien's husband died, she turned to what had brought her comfort for years—art journaling. She documented and depicted the raw, honest, beautiful and exhausting reality of caregiving through collage, tableaus, notes and observations.  She included much of the wisdom and perspective she learned from her husband in his years as a physician. 

When the book was just a stack of pages, she took it to a friend who had just been diagnosed with a rare, advanced bladder cancer.  After reading the book and knowing his own prognosis, he said, “You need to give this to my wife. She needs to understand what is ahead and feel supported as my caregiver.”  After seeing how much that stack of pages helped them in his final months, O'Brien knew that what she had created might help others.

Having been a practice management consultant and educator to physicians for 30+ years, an executive administrator for two large medical practices, in administration at three major academic medical centers, the wife and now widow of a physician, O'Brien has a unique and thorough understanding of healthcare.  Still, with all of this experience, caregiving for her dying husband was both the greatest honor and challenge of her life. 

Now O'Brien works to help caregivers feel supported while caring for others and taking care of themselves.


Book:
The Hospice Doctor's Widow: A Journal
Memoir / Essays / Creative Nonfiction
Et Alia Press
February 2020
ISBN 9781944528096
The author will make this book available for sale at the Author Pavilion during the Festival.

Named Sponsors

Arizona Daily Star
University of Arizona

Presenting Sponsors

Tucson Medical Center

Major Sponsors

Friends of the Festival
Pima County Public Library
Stocker Foundation
University of Arizona BookStores
University of Arizona - Facilities Management
Western National Parks Association
William & Mary Ross Foundation

Key Sponsors

Arizona Party Rental Companies
Arizona Wholesale Supply
Early Childhood Learning is Essential
Marshall Foundation
Tucson Electric Power Co.

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