Not Ready for Hospice

IMG_1742In early September, when his doctor told Sandy that he was too sick to remain on the liver transplant list, he also suggested thinking about Hospice. Sandy said he would, but when we came home that day and I said I would call Hospice in the morning, he balked. “No, not yet.”

I was surprised. Many years ago, Sandy and I had talked about his fear of having to ever go to a nursing home. He was adamant that, when the time came, he wanted to die at home so he took out long-term care insurance that would pay for home health care. I had promised him that, should the time come when he needed such care, we would bring in Hospice and I would do my best to keep him at home. Continue reading “Not Ready for Hospice”

The Comfort of Simple Indulgences


“A feeling of pleasure or solace can be so hard to find when you are in the depths of your grief. Sometimes it’s the little things that help get you through the day. You may think your comforts sound ridiculous to others, but there is nothing ridiculous about finding one little thing to help you feel good in the midst of pain and sorrow!” 
― Elizabeth Berrien, Creative Grieving: A Hip Chick’s Path from Loss to Hope

IMG_1150I awoke to the sound of rain pouring on the roof and wind whipping through the trees outside my windows one rainy Sunday morning last fall and wanted to pull the covers over my head and spend the day in bed. I had planned to get up early, go for a walk on the harbor and then have a delicious, breakfast at my favorite downtown restaurant. The night before I had even placed my clothes on the chair and my walking shoes beside them to remind me of my good intentions to get out in the fresh air and enjoy a brisk, sunny fall day.

The pouring rain drowned my good intentions and I felt sadness envelope me. Sundays had been the hardest days since my husband died Continue reading “The Comfort of Simple Indulgences”

An Evening at the Death Cafe


IMG_2422When I was organizing my first Death Cafe, several friends and family members all said that no one would come and I was wasting my time. But I persevered and went to the inaugural meeting prepared for a small group. I had registered at the International Death Cafe, created a Facebook Page and a Meetup for the event and six people had signed up, none of whom I knew. Having run events in my professional life, I knew that not everyone would come. Imagine my surprise when thirteen people came! I was even more surprised at how many young people were part of the group.
What attracted people, both young and old, to come out on such a hot night to sit around and discuss serious issues such as dying, death and grief?  Continue reading “An Evening at the Death Cafe”

More Laughter than Tears


2009 Marcia and Allan 003After several years of increasing illness, my husband Sandy qualified for the liver transplant list in 2008.  There is a long list in Massachusetts and, since he was still functioning fairly well, we chose not to travel to another state with a shorter wait time.  Finally, after three years, he was now near the top of the list so we had been counting on his getting a new liver very soon. However, the small tumors on his liver were growing and blood tests had revealed that the cancer had spread beyond the liver. Since people who have transplants are put on immune suppressant drugs, and transplant recipients need strong immune systems, Sandy could no longer expect to survive a transplant. Continue reading “More Laughter than Tears”