WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2012/2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/92498

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Page 77 of 203

Having the Conversation Protecting your loved ones earlier this year,my 87- year-old stepfather Bernie died. He had taken a fall in the middle of the night and fractured his hip. Aware of the intense pain that he was in, his LISA LESLIE HENDERSON writer doctors advised my mother that he should have surgery to repair his hip, despite his age and his advancing Alzheimer's. After several conversations, our family was on board with this rec- ommendation and was hopeful that Bernie would be out of pain and on his way to recovery after the rather short procedure. Unfortunately, life threw us a curve ball at that point. Bernie's heart gave out moments after the surgery and within minutes he was on life support. When it became clear that he would not be able to breathe on his own again, and that his Alzheimer's would preclude him from being able to understand and adapt to what was happening to him, circumstances demanded that our family have a different conversation. Fortunately, the conversation about Bernie's wishes regarding the quality of his life and his medical treatment under various circumstances had already taken place years before. Together he and my mom, along with their doctors, a minister, lawyer, accountant, and financial planner, had considered various possible future scenarios for his health. Working with trusted experts, they translated his wishes into official documents and distributed them to those who would be impacted by decisions related to his health in the future, and to those that might be called upon to make those decisions. As a result, a difficult time was made easier. "Good planning can minimize family misery, " explains Richard Feigenbaum, Esq., who prac- tices estate planning in Wellesley. Indeed it did. Having had "the conversation" earlier in life, indeed many times, Bernie and my mother made it possible for his end-of-life wishes to be articulated and honored. Clearly knowing his intentions brought our blended family together 76 WellesleyWeston Magazine | winter 2012/2013 PHO TOGRAPHY BY PETER BAKER

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