Welcome to the Next Chapter!

As some of you know, my mom passed away from ovarian cancer in September 2011 after five years of medical treatment.  Mom actually defied the odds and lived much longer than expected.  Those five years and her subsequent death were beautiful and heartbreaking, filled with hope and hopelessness. 

In August of 2011, I spent my birthday week with Mom and Stepdad as was our tradition.  As we got into the car after lunch with a friend, Mom had difficulty putting her seat belt on.  She didn’t have much strength to click the seat belt into place so I reached out to help her. “I’ve got it,” she said slapping my hand away.  As she clicked the seat belt into place she let out a deep sigh.  “Well,” she said, “I’ve had a beautiful life; now I want a beautiful death.” 

I had no response at the time, but about a week later I called her. “Mom? I’m going to write a book about you and me and our journey dealing with ovarian cancer.  If we can save at least one woman’s life because she or someone she loves reads this book, then your death will have made as big of a difference as your life.”

Mom was silent on the other end of the phone. “Really?” she asked. “Really,” I responded.

My new book, When I Die, Take My Panties: Turning Your Darkest Moments into Your Greatest Gifts is a fulfillment of my promise to my Mom.  While it is the story of my Mom’s cancer, it is also my story, about the transformation I went through and the lessons I learned – all of which are detailed in the book. Writing the book was quite literally a labor of love—for my mother, for myself, and for anyone who’s gone through a difficult time and come out smiling on the other end.

That’s why I’m not just launching a book. I’m also starting a new business, “Embrace the Ridiculousness of Life,” to help individuals navigate challenging times while above all maintaining their sense of humor and sense of self.  

Using the book as my platform, I will begin to do workshops, public speaking and life coaching as well as book tours, signings and book clubs. If you are interested in having me coach you or helping set up speaking engagements, workshops or book events, please reach out to me at jencoken@gmail.com. 

In the meantime, I'd also love to hear about the times that you have turned some of your dark moments into your greatest gifts. Feel free to leave comments below.