About Us

Spirit Calling is a joint venture with Jenny Zander, a visual artist  whose work explores the relationships women have with their surrounding environments and the natural world. Nadine embodied the spirit and provided the voice to the film’s narrative.
The film was produced by Nick Meehan.

Spirit Calling

A Pilgrim’s Way through Grief came out of the experiences of readers, hospice providers and volunteers who used A Night on Buddy’s Bench as a resource in their caregiving and in their own exploration with grief and loss. The Hospice and Palliative Care Association of NYS, under the Directorship of Carla Braveman, collaborated in the development of the Guide and will receive all proceeds generated from its sales.

A Pilgrim’s Way through Grief 

A Guide to A Night on Buddy’s Bench

In grief we not only mourn the passing of someone we love, but also revisit our former losses.

A Night on Buddy’s Bench emerged from our family experience with death. Within a period of a few months, we lost Esther, my highly functional ninety-three-year-old mom; Rose, our adorable three-year-old cousin; and our very vital seventy-eight-year-old Aunt Kay. We were fortunate to be supported by wonderful Hospice caregivers, who helped us begin to let go of fear and learn instead to be present to our loved ones’ end-of-life journeys.

Bringing Buddy’s Bench to fruition became a family healing process. My wife, Nadine, became the editor and chief supporter. Her mom, Ann Trombly, who lost her last living sibling in Aunt Kay, agreed to be the illustrator and created the pictures to go with the story. My cousin, playwright and filmmaker Sharon Cooper, produced and directed the audio version of the book, read by actor Anthony Lopez, with an original sound and music score by Nick T. Moore. In gratitude for the caring support we received from Hospice, we all agreed to donate all proceeds from book sales and events to Hospice organizations.

A Night on Buddy’s Bench

Ira is a consultant and senior trainer with the National Coalition Building Institute, a non-profit diversity and equity leadership training organization. He has a Master's Degree in Adult Education from Syracuse University.
In his previous work with labor unions he has helped bring creative writing programs to workers. He and his wife, Nadine, are annual visitors to the islands of Maine.

Ira Baumgarten 


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