• If you are uneasy, confused, or concerned about end-of-life issues for yourself or a family member, I would be happy to talk with you. In the illnesses and deaths of my parents, the caregiving and death of my husband and being with a client at the end of her life, I have experienced the difficult challenges involved. My background as a nurse has also given me insights in navigating the complexities of the illness care system.

    In the illnesses and deaths of my parents, I experienced challenges regarding their care at the end of their lives. My mother was fortunate to be completely able to make her own decisions. But five years earlier she had not been prepared to question the decisions for the medical emergency that occurred in the presence of the Alzheimer’s my father had experienced for ten years.

    I learned a great deal in those experiences and in being with my father over the years of his decline. And I learned about myself and my wishes as we cared as a family for my mother in her rapid illness and death.

    I wrote about these experiences in my book, A Bridge of Returning.

    Both my life as a nurse and those experiences prepared me for decisions I made about caring for my husband at the end of his life. With that determination and the help of others, I cared for my husband at home. He remained warm, empathic and able to be with our clients until a week before he died. And able to be with friends and family who came to say good-bye three days before his then peaceful death – despite his many losses due to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. The experience was tremendously difficult and challenging for me, but also deeply satisfying. It was also inspiring to those most closely with us in the process. I wrote about it in the paper, “A Person-Centered Life—and Death,” published in the Person-Centered Journal in 2012. With the editors, we also recognized Armin’s sixty years a s a person-centered psychotherapist which was published in the same journal with one of his poems.

    I was affected personally as well in living through all of that and have taken actions as a result. I have had the conversations with my adult children who are my health care proxys and spelled out my wishes in Advanced Directives. In addition, I wrote a paper not yet published, “After the End of Life: One Wife’s Experience.”