Zoe FitzGerald Carter

Zoe FitzGerald Carter
March 27
I'm a journalist whose first book, Imperfect Endings (Simon & Schuster) was published last year. It's about my mother's decision to end her life after living with Parkinson's for many years and the struggle my two older sisters and I had coming to terms with that choice. The book was excerpted in O magazine and was chosen as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. Paula Span in the The New York Times, said "I could quote from this book all day." People magazine said, "Carter coaxes beauty from the bleak." And The Boston Globe called it "an engaging and insightful tale of familial love, understanding, and forgiveness, shot through with a surprising amount of wit." I currently live in Northern Cal with my husband and two daughters. I am available to talk to bookgroups by phone or Skype or -- if they are in the Greater Bay Area -- by person. You can read more about my book or contact me through my website: imperfectendings.com


Faced with my mother’s decision to end her life after suffering from Parkinson’s disease for many years, I spent the last year of her life wrestling with how to respond. Because her doctors were unwilling to help her – and because assisted suicide is illegal in my hometown (Washing

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Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 27, 2012 2:36PM

The Not Quite Empty Enough Nest

It took crashing the car while texting for my college freshman daughter to start being nice to me again. It happened three weeks into her five-week Christmas vacation, a period characterized by carelessness and defiance on her part and irritation on mine.

From the start, the vacation was a saga ofRead full post »

DECEMBER 15, 2011 8:19PM

Saying Good-bye to Wine

Catching sight of the rows of bottles in my neighborhood wine store the other day -- a holiday banner hanging merrily in the window -- I felt a pang of sadness and regret. Each of the artfully displayed bottles seemed filled with the promise of sensual delight. I could/

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Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 26, 2011 6:37PM

Kara Kennedy and Eleanor Mondale: A Personal Tribute


Kara and Edward Kennedy with their parents Joan and Ted circa 1968

Kara Kennedy, daughter of Senator Ted Kennedy, died last Friday, September 16th at the age of fifty-one of a heart attack. A day later, Eleanor Mondale, daughter of former vice president Walter Mondale, also fifty-one, died… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 5, 2011 1:10AM

Dr. Death's Final Decision

After championing the rights of the sick and suffering to get help ending their lives — and providing that “help” to scores of terminally ill patients — Dr. Jack Kevorkian died of natural causes on Friday at the age of 83.

According to Geoffrey Fieger, the

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After years of trusty service and almost no repair issues, my beloved ibook finally gave up the ghost – the hinge between keyboard and screen had actually self-destructed from overuse  – and so, with great excitement, I bought a sleek, sexy new 15-inch MacBook Pro.

I figured that t… Read full post »

APRIL 6, 2011 8:19PM

In Jail for "Doing A Kevorkian"

Most people convicted of murder are understood to have stolen their victim’s life. To have violently ripped it away against the person’s will. Not so Kenneth Minor, a 38-year-old man who was sentenced to 20 years to life this week for killing 52-year-old Jeffrey Locker. Minor’s defe… Read full post »

Recently, I was watching a cable television show with my 14-year-old daughter when, suddenly, the couple onscreen tore off their clothes and began having sweaty and graphic simulated sex. I found myself staring straight ahead, face hot, until the camera cut away.

As… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 15, 2011 4:57PM

The Ghost in My Quilt

My mother's quilt, Vermont, March 12, 2011

After a whirlwind 24-hours in New York City to promote my book and attend an award ceremony, I arrived at my sister Sarah’s farmhouse in Northern Vermont ready to relax and enjoy the deep piles of New England snow.

Straight out of… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 16, 2011 3:55PM

Drinking the Kombucha Kool-Aid

When I first heard about Kombucha, it was from a friend who told me it was made from fermented mushrooms, a piece of misinformation I promptly passed on to numerous friends and acquaintances.

I later found out that the “mushroom” used to make Kombucha is actually a ball of yeast… Read full post »

JANUARY 12, 2011 7:54PM

The Bullies Have Won (Again)

In a hugely disappointing move, the Obama administration has abruptly backed away from supporting a frank and open discussion about end-of-life planning between doctors and their elderly patients.

Only three days after implementing a new regulation that provided Medicare coverage for doctors to… Read full post »

DECEMBER 20, 2010 5:15PM

Baby Boomers Are Bummin'

Okay, stop the presses, this just in: Baby boomers are in a funk!

According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, forty-five to sixty-five year olds are not feeling the love. In fact, 80 percent of us are pessimistic about the way things are going in this country.Read full post »

DECEMBER 5, 2010 5:26PM

Overspending: A Tale of Christmas Past

It may be hard to find the silver lining in the current economic downturn, but the recession has given me at least one important gift: It has cured me of my shameful habit of overspending at Christmas.

Read my piece on AOL's DailyFinance:

  Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 19, 2010 9:28PM

Memories, Lies and Sex Abuse: A Cautionary Tale

Having known a number of incest survivors over the years, including a close friend who suffered from horrific abuse as a child, I find the notion that women might fabricate their stories of sexual abuse both unbelievable and offensive. In fact, I have always assumed that anyone who doubted these stor… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 22, 2010 2:35PM

Nothing Left to Burn: A Wesleyan Student's Final Message

It's a parent's worst nightmare. Last week, Nora Miller, a junior at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, committed suicide by dousing herself with a flammable liquid and lighting herself on fire at the edge of one of the University’s playing fields. She was discovered early Monday morning with… Read full post »


Some people just can’t see the humor in death. Not so the Billboard Liberation Front (BLF).

A billboard created by the Final Exit Network (FEN), a controversial right to die organization, was on display for less than a month when it suffered a flash guerrilla attack from… Read full post »

I was pained to discover that my friends seem to care more about my weird, unhealthy cat than they do about me. Thank you, Facebook.

I’ve come to realize that there are two basic types of FB users: those who post about politics, the birds in… Read full post »

  My two older sisters and me, France, circa 1962

Me and my two sisters, identities obscured, France, circa 1962

I was recently called out on a blog entitled “Mothers of Brothers” for using pseudonyms in my memoir, Imperfect Endings. A blogger named Jennifer (no last name) was bemoaning how all the mommy bloggers out theRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 10, 2010 12:38AM

Homage to An Unsentimental Mother



My mother in 1955

Mother’s Day was more of a rumor than a reality when I was growing up. I heard friends talk about cards and flowers and going out to brunch but it wasn’t something we did at my house.  It’s not that I didn’t have… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 6, 2010 12:51PM

The Wanderers: Free Will, Dementia, and Death

Back in the early 1990’s, Sam, a family friend with Alzheimer’s slipped undetected out the door of his nursing home and wandered into a freezing winter night. He was found the next day, dead from hypothermia, at the edge of a stream. A charming, bright-eyed man who’d never lost his… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 25, 2010 6:53PM

Dr. Death -- Up Close and Way Too Personal

When my mother was planning how to end her life in 2001, she joined the Hemlock Society and arranged to have one of their “Caring Friends” come to her house. The meeting with Bud, an overweight man in a black suit and bolo tie, is one of the central scenes in… Read full post »

APRIL 24, 2010 7:54PM

Al Pacino as...Dr. Death?


Dear Open Salon-ers,

I am taking the plunge and getting myself on to OS after being a long time admirer of the writing – and the writers -- on this site. I look forward to getting to know more of you in the days… Read full post »