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Tag Archives: end-of-life

Everlasting Love: TLO Is at Rest and at Peace


Love is the beauty of the soul. ~ Saint Augustine Bernard Richard Schiffer: January 24, 1931 ~ March 9, 2014 The house is quiet, so different, so empty. The beautiful aroma of the stargazer lilies fills the house, as one by one, they bloom in their mystical way. Just as the lilies transition from a small bud to a beautiful flower, TLO’s transition into eternal life was just as mystical and just as beautiful. Holding him in ... Read More »

This Week Is Not for the Weak


By now I thought I would be writing to tell you about Hubby’s passing. I would love to say that after his sedation he rested peacefully and drifted off into eternal rest. Just like in the movies, eyes open, eyes closed, good bye. But after a week, that has not been the case. I will say that I feel we accomplished our goal in keeping Hubby  pain free and comfortable. The Hospice In Patient staff ... Read More »

Life: A Laundry List of Health Issues


Long time no type. It has been more of the same for the past few months and I’ve just been trying to keep up with the holidays, etc. But, the start to the new year has been less than stellar. My dad is still hanging on – predicted not to make it through the week each and every week since around Thanksgiving, but still he hangs on. No cognitive interaction, barely awake each day for ... Read More »

Podcast: Table Talk with Chris


Denise talked with Chris, @thpurplejacket, who cares for his partner, about how things are going with “the little one” after finding tumors on his spine and his round of chemotherapy. It was a wonderful show and I can so relate to the guilt and anxiety about leaving our carees home alone and worrying about something happening while your not there. I know I get very anxious if I can’t get ahold of Nicole either by ... Read More »

17 Reasons Why Caregiving Makes You Awesome


Caregiving can make you weary and, well, crabby. It also makes you awesome. And, I’ve got 17 reasons why caregiving makes you awesome. 1. You’re a best friend. Because of your caregiving responsibilities, you’ve lost some friends which means you know how to be a great one. You support and encourage and you stick by a friend when a friend needs one most. Your friends are very lucky to have you. 2. You are open ... Read More »



Tonight, while eating a can of cold baked beans over the kitchen sink, I was reminded that this is the holiday season, a time of thanks and feasting, perhaps not always in that order. I am very grateful for my beans. I eat them cold so my wife, who is bed-ridden in the front room, cannot smell food being prepared and get nauseous again. She has terminal cancer. I have unending thanks. I am thankful ... Read More »

Managing Your Caregiving Fears


We all have fears—of heights or spiders or public speaking. The fears in caregiving, though, make those seem like child’s play. The caregiving fears you face can overtake you, disabling your rational thoughts and common sense. These fears– about loss, failure and the future—seem too big until we break them down to break through them. You fear what you’ll lose because of caregiving; specifically, your caree. A disease process or simply old age slowly and ... Read More »

Whose Journey Is It?


 The longest journey you’ll ever take is from the head to the heart. ~ Regina Rosenthal  As we come to the end of the 5th week of palliative radiation treatments, the word ‘journey’ keeps resonating with me. Our recent journey with Hospice of Broward County proved to be bumpy; we’ve moved on from that  bumpy road and have brought in new ‘friends’ to help us continue on with our journey. We’re hoping for smooth sailing as we ... Read More »

Days of Struggle


In these days of struggle, I have all the strength I need. My dogs snuggle with me as if I am the sole source of love in the universe. I am given their kisses like only heroes deserve, in spite of my many human failings. I also have the respect of a disrespectful house cat that seems to understand that her family is under threat. She dwells among us when we have no food to ... Read More »

Guidelines Help with Difficult Medical Decisions


I often talk with family caregivers about difficult decisions they face as their family member declines because of a chronic illness or disability. A physician or medical team presents the family caregiver and other family members with treatment recommendations, leaving the family caregiver to wonder: “How in the world do I know which option is the right option?” Now, family caregivers have a go-to resource which offers insights about the appropriateness of treatments and tests: ... Read More »

On Being an Advocate


Knowledge is knowing what we do not know. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson As we move into the second week of TLO’s palliative radiation treatments, we experienced a few challenges over this past weekend that needed the attention of the hospice nurse. I knew it was just a matter of time before we would enlist their services, it is comforting to know that our ‘friends’ at Hospice of Broward County are just a phone call away. One of the most ... Read More »

The Pitch White Light


CBS Sunday Morning aired another remarkable segment this morning about a young man, an early death and a heavenly hope for all of us. Grab the tissue before you begin to watch. Related Articles An Update ( Hello and Please, Come In! ( Emergency Room! ( Update on Robert; Yes, Robert ( Destination ( Read More »

A Moment of Peace


I had received a call last week from some friends Richard and I know through the holistic healing world. Her father’s in town and he does some kind of energy work with tuning forks, a type of sound therapy (I’d heard of this but I can’t recall the name.) They came over Saturday afternoon – our friends, their 10-month old son and the father, the healer. I didn’t know what to expect. He was the ... Read More »

The Call For Hospice


Love and compassion are necessities not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. ~  Dalai Lama As we move into the second phase of palliative radiation treatment for TLO, it was important for both of us to bring in our friends from Hospice of Broward County to help us in this journey. The hospice team arrived promptly at our home on Friday, thoroughly explained the process to both of us. It was peaceful as  we signed ... Read More »

55 Miles an Hour and then Bam!


My Grandma, Elly, has always been a “worker bee”. She never chose to drive a car but could pilot you around town, California, or across the country to SE Canada. This week, Elly has been pushing along with her swollen legs and we’ve seen improvement as they have gone down to normal. The pain still tarries in those scarred legs but now she doesn’t say much other than, “I don’t have any starch left”. So, ... Read More »

Never Alone


That which does not kill us makes us stronger. ~ Fredrich Nietzche As we move into the second week with the news of the cancer spreading to TLO’s spine, we are grateful for all the wonderful words of encouragement, the expression of love, along with the care and concern shown to us. Yes, the news hit us hard last week, yet each day we have gotten stronger because of so many of you who have ... Read More »


Richard and Debbie

The last few days there has been a noticeable decline in Richard. Actually, if I really think about it, it began a couple of weeks ago with his nutrition. His intake of the nutrition liquid went from two cans a day (950 calories) to lately a half a can, and now and then a full can (475 calories) daily. But the last few days I have to prompt him to try to drink, even just ... Read More »

Keeping Your Seat at the Head of the Table


A visitor to the website recently posted a request for help. My friend, she explained, and her sister are locked in a power struggle over who will be the No. 1 caregiver for their mom. My friend has been helping and caring for her mother for years. Now that her mother’s end is near, her out-of-town sister has arrived, gunning to take over. How can I help my friend, she asked? When you’ve taken care ... Read More »

In One Word, How Would You Like to be Remembered?


My last question to our panel of family caregivers during Wednesday’s Hot Topics talk show was: In one word, how would you like to be remembered? In essence: At the end of your life, what one word would you like others to use to describe you? I’d love to know yours. Please feel free to share yours in our comments section, below. Related Articles If There’s So Many of You, Why Is Caregiving Still So ... Read More »

Taking Vacations, Hallucinations, Dealing in General


We just got back from a week’s vacation in Branson, Mo. We had so much fun, but it was difficult leaving my dad at my sister’s house while we were gone. It reminded me so much of the first time I left my son with my parents to go out of town many years ago. Caring for a parent is so weird. We spend so many years being taken care of by our parents, and ... Read More »

Dad’s Time Coming to an End…


The hospice nurse told my mom today that my Dad has days, at best a couple of weeks left. He ran a fever of 102 last night (this morning) and they had to call a nurse out at 4 a.m. (Thank goodness my mom has the 24/7 caregiver there.) She was able to get the temperature down, but he was twitching violently (he has Parkinson’s-like twitching all the time, but this was much worse and ... Read More »

Tell Us: What Do You Think about Tweeting a Caree’s Death?


Over the weekend, Scott Simon, host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday,” shared tweets about his mom’s hospitalization which became updates about his mom’s last days. He posted tweets like this one: “Her passing might come any moment, or in an hour, or not for a day. Nurses saying hearing is last sense to go so I sing & joke.” When his mom died Monday night, he tweeted: “The heavens over Chicago have opened and Patricia ... Read More »