This is the last morning my son will wake up in our home for a very long time. He is moving to Australia, a continent with a completely different set of constellations. We will no longer share the same sky.

Since man first stared out at horizons, since we learned to build boats and muster armies, to conquer lands or scratch an adventuresome itch, mothers have said goodbye to their sons. They’ve choked back sobs sending them to war or prison, shed quiet tears when they went to college, took their wedding vows or left their homeland in search of…


The Shell Answer Man

Who remembers the Shell Answer Man? Shell Answer Man 1978

When I was growing up, the Shell Corporation ran a series of TV commercials that lasted for almost three decades. In each one, the immaculately dressed Shell Answer Man offered handy dandy tips about cars and driving.

Boy, back in the day, that man was an automotive authority, an icon on par with Mr. Clean or Captain Kangaroo. He was so ingrained in the pop-culture that even now, when a family member gets a little too preachy, too much of a know-it-all, they earn the moniker.

The Shell Answer Man’s voice was deep and commanding, like…


Some men are born gift givers. They zealously clip ads, create lists, or can file away a well-dropped hint. Others, well, others have different talents. My husband falls into the latter category. In all matters of gift purchasing, he must be led, like a bull with a nose ring, directly to the desired item. As in, sent the link to the specific item in the appropriate color and size on the exact website. Like that.

I once devoted an entire book chapter (PERFECTLY IMPERFECT) to my husband’s gifting misfires. The situation came to a head after a trip he made…


It’s time for the daily public sexual harassment witch hunt to stop. I don’t speak for everyone, but I’m getting weary of revelations about some older (or not) clueless man being rightfully eviscerated for harmful and horrible behavior, some of it years ago.

This isn’t an easy piece to write and here’s why: I have always been a feminist, advocating for women’s equality in all aspects of life, including wages.

Secondly, sexual assault or abuse in any form is unacceptable. Sexual harassment is equally reprehensible. …


I don’t have any interest in going to space and I’m not a mountain climber. There isn’t one ounce of me that feels a burning desire to rope myself to other human beings, attach spikes to my feet and climb to the roof of the sky.

But I understand the importance of a journey. I’m married to an adrenaline junkie, a man who loves adventure, but it is more than that. It’s about wanting to experience something that tests your limits, to have a mission and a goal. …


I’ve been telling some version of my story for almost eleven years. Give or take, that’s about a fifth of my life. It’s been a profession, a part-time career really, speaking to groups of varying size, charities, associations, investment banks, lecture series, insurance companies, hospitals and medical professionals, ladies lunches, country clubs, YMCAs. You get the idea.

Recently, I sat down to tell my story on a Facebook Live interview with Sheryl Sandberg, who wrote the book Option B after her husband’s sudden death while on vacation. Sandberg shares her personal story in achingly honest prose. …


Early summer morning, low clouds spitting rain. My girls are running late for work again. They’ve been lollygagging in the bathroom and we need to be on the road to the local market, where they’re getting their first taste of earning an honest wage.

I wear my “annoyed face” as they scurry to the car, but secretly, I’m proud of them. They’ve been pulling long hours and early mornings, mopping floors, making sandwiches and wiping tables, rarely complaining about missing summer fun with their unemployed friends.

Easing off our local road onto the highway, I spot the man, his back…


Long ago, I determined that if my house ever caught fire, the one thing I would grab would be my photo albums. Everything else, I reasoned, was replaceable. But life’s memories? Impossible. Tragic.

Re-organizing the basement this summer, I opened a Tupperware container of mementos and immediately smelled danger. Not smoke or fire, thank goodness, but water. A hard rain had slid down the rock face in the basement and seeped into a crack in the plastic. Humidity and mold had done the rest. Naturally, it was the one box that really mattered.

My heart sank as I pried off…


Lee welcomes Bob home from assignment in China wearing the boots he wore in Iraq.

And which shoes will you be wearing?

January 29th marked ten years since my husband, Bob Woodruff, was gravely injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq while reporting for ABC News. This was his “Alive Day,” a military term for the day you survive a major injury to come back to the ones you love.

Bob’s recovery has been nothing short of a miracle, and he is back at work as a broadcast journalist. Our family’s experiences inspired us to help post-911 veterans and their families on the home front — the Bob Woodruff Foundation was born.


January 29, 2016

Dear Bob,

Ten years have passed since the boots in this photograph made their way back to me from the military ER in Iraq. They were stuffed in a clear plastic bag, along with your dented helmet, watch and wallet, caked with dried blood.

Lee Woodruff

Author: Those We Love Most, In an Instant, Co-Founder Bob Woodruff Foundation http://bobwoodrufffoundation.org, Feature contributor-CBS This Morning

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