Lessons to Learn from a Tragedy

In the Summit Daily News on December 29, 2018, I read the story entitled, Family remembers Arvada man who died following cardiac event at Keystone. The picture shows a smiling man on the ski slopes, Daniel Mares, age 52. He was three years younger than I am, which caught me eye. His first cardiac event killed him without warning on December 22, 2018.

The article provided Daniel’s background and a glimpse of his personality and passions.  It stated that he was “characterized largely by his effortless intellectualism, a carefree and joyful disposition, and the love he shared with his children.” He had two kids age 23 and 21, who are now struggling to deal with his loss on many levels.

I enjoyed reading about Mare’s life until I got to the point where it was revealed that he had not done any planning for the inevitable, his ultimate death. I then felt heartsick for his kids, who are just a bit younger than mine. The article quoted his daughter, “This was his first cardiac event, so I don’t think even he was prepared for it. There’s no will, no life insurance and no financial records…so we have nothing, and were the only people our dad had.” [Read more…]

Meaningful End-of-Life Books

I never thought I would enjoy reading books about death. I participate in a virtual book group entitled A Year of Reading Dangerously-Exploring Death and The Afterlife Through Books (we do not meet in person). Each month we read a book that has something to do with dying, death, the afterlife, grief and other related aspects of the end-of-life. At the end of the month, the moderator interviews the author and listeners have a chance to ask questions. Recordings of the interview remain accessible to those who missed the call. There is also a Facebook group associated with the book club. [Read more…]

A Chance to Say Goodbye: Reflections on Losing a Parent

My latest book is available on Amazon! Also Barnes and Noble!

Gold Winner in “Aging Family” and Honorable Mention in “Life Journey” Human Relations Indie Book Awards, 2017. Bronze Winner in “Mature Living/Aging” Living Now Book Awards, 2017. Finalist in “Health: Aging/50+” Best Book Awards, 2017. Finalist in “Death and Dying” National Indie Excellence Awards, 2017.

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Throughout the years, Lisa and her dad had a tenuous relationship. In her youth, she was disappointed and angered by his behavior, distancing herself from him and blaming him for the sudden end to their intact comfortable family life. As a young adult and after her father’s sudden heart attack, Lisa was given a second chance to heal their relationship. Over the next three decades they became closer, enjoying time together, including travel. When her dad entered his eighties, and while still raising her own children, Lisa found herself unprepared for his steady health decline. Suddenly, she was thrust into the role of overseeing his care as he began to experience increasing disability and the beginnings of dementia.

Not having prepared for or anticipated such a role, Lisa floundered as she attempted to address his ever-changing situation. The closeness and healing they had achieved was challenged as her father resisted conversations about his failing health and his care, exacerbated by a western medical system that fell short to prepare them for the end of his life.

A moving tribute to a remarkable man and a daughter’s experience of losing her dad, A Chance to Say Goodbye gives rise to reflections about what is important in living and dying.

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Praise for A Chance to Say Goodbye:

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