Study Guide: Listening Is an Act of Love

B. Reading the Stories

5. KIERSTA KURTZ-BURKE interviewed by her husband JUSTIN LUNDGREN

Pre-reading statement of opinion:  Do you agree that having good quality time with the person you love is probably more important than the number of years that you have spent with that person?  Why or why not?

Post-reading guided summary:  Decide what Kiersta’s profession is.  Recall what gave her “the first inkling” (239) that something terrible was going to happen.  Explain why the actual evacuation of patients from the hospital would have to be by boat.  Describe the situation in the hospital.  Tell why Kiersta was critical of the emergency effort that was already in place.  Explain why she was concerned about the “aphasic” patients and what she did to make them “feel like they were in the loop” (242).  Consider why Justin started to realize the dangerous situation Kiersta was in and how Kiersta decided to write a letter to Justin and the rest of the family.  Explain how Kiersta felt about Justin when he came to the hospital and how Justin helped with the evacuation of the patients.  Tell why for Kiersta the event at Charity Hospital was “jubilant” and “sad” (247) at the same time and her life has been divided since then into the “before and after” (247).  Comment on the ironic significance of the hospital’s name and how “charity” was reflected in all the “heroic effort[s]” (248) described by Kiersta and Justin.

Personal response:  Write your reaction to one or two aspects of the summary you have written, and try to connect this response to the opinion that you expressed before reading the StoryCorps transcript.