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Judy Mandel


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We can all only imagine how the death of a child would take its toll on parents and a family. It’s a hole that threatens to tear us apart. In an act of hope, the parents have a replacement child. The child is born to heal wounds and provide a “salve for the burns.”  The child unwittingly plays her role throughout childhood, riding the deep and hidden currents of the family tragedy. Years later, as an adult, she discovers the truth of her family’s life-changing event and the complex layers of her own relationships with her father, mother, and sister. Not until she finally has a child of her own does she come to grips with what she silently has known all along: Anything can happen. Planes fall from the sky. Our guest today is author Judy Mandel, whose book “Replacement child – a memoir” is a story of love and transformation, revealing the everyday realities behind so many tragic headlines. In her book, you will follow one woman’s brave path to recovery—sometimes through laughter, sometimes through tears—as she embraces the love that allows her to finally forgive. 

I was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, but my family quickly moved to the more suburban Cranford. The town I live in now in Connecticut is nearly a duplicate of my childhood hometown.

In college, I tried several different majors over the course of finding my way. My first was communications, then theater, then I developed a major in playwriting. Finally, I settled on English and Journalism. Having taken a break after my sophomore year to get married, getting my degree part-time took me a while. I worked my way through those last college years singing and playing guitar in coffee shops and clubs.

My writing life began as a reporter, which I actually loved. Then, I added a public relations stint at a hospital, a short time in advertising and somehow found myself in corporate communications at various insurance companies--where I earned a living for 20 years. I had only meant to stay for a few paychecks. More recently, I provide marketing writing for corporate clients in addition to continuing my own writing.

I am blessed with a wonderful son, an equally wonderful husband who brought three fantastic stepsons into my life, and a very large orange cat that sometimes types long lines of zzzzzz's by laying across my computer keyboard.

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