Honoring A Parent’s Wishes by Virginia Citrano

Decades ago, my parents established living wills. They had gone to a seminar at my mom’s church and came away feeling that it was a good idea that my sisters and I knew exactly how they wanted to be cared for at the end of their lives. We listened to their plans, but thought it was creepy: Our parents were young, and in our minds they were going to stay young for a very long time.

Last year, my father’s declining health took a sharp turn for the worse. My mother, my sisters and I had to dig out his living will and commit to honoring it in earnest. We took him out of the hospital and, with the help of a hospice service, brought him home to be surrounded by some medical aid, like an oxygen tank, but more importantly his wall of family pictures and the sounds of Italian opera.

It was the hardest thing that any of us had ever done. On the nights when the pain medicines did not seem to be working, we doubted our abilities as caregivers. When people asked us when we were going to take him back to the hospital, it was sometimes difficult to explain that we were following his wish to die at home. It was painful to listen as friends shared the guilt they felt at not having dealt with a death in the way the dying person wanted them to, or not know what their wishes were. We had my father’s written guidance, and we followed it to the end. And my sisters and I discovered that we were grateful that our parents had so clearly expressed their wishes about death.

There are many subjects that don’t make for easy dinner-time conversations. Death is one of them. But having that conversation can make even a difficult death much easier.

Virginia Citrano is the editor of MyVeronaNJ.com, a community news Web site in Verona.

About Clelia Pergola

Nothing happens at Goldberg Law Group until Clelia Pergola says so. It is easier to explain what she doesn’t contribute to the firm than what she does. Mrs. Pergola has been with the Goldberg Law Group since before our doors opened and she has been instrumental in the growth of our services and reputation. Clelia designed the firm from the ground up by replacing the antiquated law firm model with a streamlined, procedures-based organization. This revolutionary process allows the attorneys and staff members to accomplish their tasks efficiently without unnecessary distractions and stress. What does this mean for our clients? Fewer errors, better results, and friendlier service. Clelia is a caregiver to her Nonna and has personally experienced the frustrations and challenges of the long term care system. When not running the firm, Clelia enjoys cooking, rooting for the Jets, and spending time with her husband and son, Dante Domenico named after her late grandfather, Domenico Barone.
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