Love and Lightness at the End of Life
Of late, there is much conversation about death with dignity and orchestrating the end of life. Not everyone Cerna Home Care cares for is elderly – some are in the prime of the lives, but are ill or dying from diseases like cancer.
Recently, Cerna cared for *Dan; he had Stage 4 Neuroblastoma; he was dying. Dan was home living the last weeks of his life. His wife was struggling with wanting him to be comfortable in the familiar surroundings of their bedroom and that he eventually would die at home. She could not bear living in the same home her husband died in.
She expressed her fears and worries to Marc Friedman, Cerna’s Senior Vice President of Client Care. Marc understood her concerns and anxiety. Caring for a client means caring about their family. He said, “Let’s figure out the right way.”
With the guidance of Marc and the input of Dan and his wife, a home away from home was created. Actually, a room in Dan’s home was relocated piece by piece. Dan was transitioned to a Board and Care. There, his bedroom was set-up exactly as it was in their house, right down to each picture frame, lamp and dresser – even his wife and their dog. Marc Friedman explained, “Our goal is to make sure that the end of life journey is as pleasant, enriching and rewarding as it can be.”
Dan’s last days were planned his way. Marc Friedman had the privilege of spending the evening with Dan two days prior to his passing. Marc recounts the night, “Dan was fully alert drinking a fine Pinot Noir surrounded by an intimate group of loved ones and his dog. Affection filled the room; the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival, his favorite band, was blaring.”
Yes, losing someone leaves a tremendous void; missing them is terribly sad. But, if we recondition our way of thinking about passing from life to death, it does not have to be all about sadness. Instead, it can create positive memories for family and friends.
Marc stays in touch with Dan’s wife. Whenever he sees her, Marc thinks about Dan’s last few days – just being together with his dog, watching the Golf Channel, listening to music. They are cherished memories. Marc says, “It is such a comfort knowing he passed with dignity and everything he loved.”
*names are changed to protect privacy