A time to dance , a time to mourn | SierraSun.com

A time to dance , a time to mourn

Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun
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Bob tries to speak, but the tears come before his words, so he closes his eyes and takes pause. In that moment simple words cannot describe the converging emotions of a lifetime of memories and the unknown finality that lays ahead. Diagnosed with both renal carcinoma and metastatic melanoma in late May, 68-year-old Truckee resident Bob Bibeaults chances of beating two cancers dont look promising.Bob was still receiving medical treatment in September when Tahoe Forest Hospice staff came to his home for the first time, painful reality in tow.Im not angry, but it would be stretching it to say that Im not afraid, Bob says. I thought it would be a little easier.Jane Bibeault, Bobs wife of 14 years, takes grasp of his hands as her frail partner chokes on his words. It is clear in this relationship, or at least at this point, that Jane has no option but to be the stronger half, and in that, Bob says, she has been successful.Its like a roller-coaster hope and terror all mixed together, Jane says. Im trying to be the rock, but sometimes I feel like Im not going to be strong enough.But this is all part of the human condition, and were all in it together.Dealing with lossThe end of life is a topic that many find difficult to face, and for obvious reason. It is painful. It is often traumatic. It is permanent. But the end of life can be enlightening. It can be soothing and it can be fulfilling. So much about living and maturing is about dealing with loss, says Kathryn Hill, spiritual care and bereavement coordinator for Tahoe Forest Hospice. What gives me the most reward is empowering families to walk through this journey together and see it as a precious time that can be done well that it is a sacred time and that you dont want to jump over it, Hill says.It doesnt have to be OK, but no matter what the relationship, there will be a point to acknowledge that you shared your life together.For patients and families, coming to that realization takes time, but the fear, anger and confusion often come quickly.Ignoring those emotions in a time of trauma and crisis is unnecessary, Hill tells her clients; better to accept them head-on and work through the fog. Griefs a part of nature that washes over us like a tsunami and it is important to acknowledge its depth, Hill says. At some point you have to be gentle with yourself and surrender to the fact that this is your life and that it has changed.Sweet surrenderSurrendering is not something most Americans do well. We know how to achieve, how to accrue and how to win. But accepting loss is something that many people have to learn, Hill says.That lesson can be a difficult one, as Jane Bibeault will tell you, but it can be better understood and made easier if there is time to learn patiently.[The end of life] is a no-holds barred opportunity to share everything in a concentrated time, Jane says. For so long it was hello, goodbye and youre out the door. After her husbands cancer diagnoses, Jane says she and Bob made it a priority to spend personal, intimate, and often uncomfortable time with each of their five children in preparation for Bobs death. This, they say, was the most important and fulfilling part of the dying process.This has definitely pulled us together more if thats possible, Bob says. The greatest service is talking. Dont wait to do these things. Its the biggest mistake a person can make to let your pride get in the way.Often it can be hard to voice the unspoken, Hill says. Grudges can go unforgiven, questions go unanswered and loving sentiments go unsaid. And that unfinished business, she says, can make the burden of a loss much heavier to bear. You dont want to walk around thinking I wish I would have said something, Jane says. Dont worry if there are tears; its all part of it.Truckee resident Bob Bibeault passed away in the company of his family on Nov. 14. I was fortunate to have met him and his wife Jane while writing this story, and I would like to thank them for allowing me into their home at such a personal time. The calm after the stormIts comforting to think that time will allow preparation for the loss of a loved one, but there is, of course, no guarantee.Whether families and friends are prepared for loss or not, grieving is likely, Hill says, and its something that everyone must learn to deal with in their own way.Bev Imparato says she can understand that fact. Imparato, a 70-year-old Donner Lake resident, lost her husband, Gus, to lung cancer in June of 2004, and says that even after two years, she is still grieving her loss. I still talk to him periodically it makes me feel better, Imparato says. And I still use we.Grieving is a natural process that must be worked through after nearly every loss, says Hill, because it serves as a time in which people naturally feel the need to reflect on life, assess its value and find some meaning.There are different kinds of grieving styles that our culture tends to dictate how long it should take and what it should look like, Hill says. But grief has its own time that has nothing to do with our conscious life.In some instances, grieving a loss, enduring heartache and working through pain can be a blessing.I found that Guss passing brought my two boys closer together and now they call me at least once a week, if not more, Imparato says. I look forward to the get-togethers like Thanksgiving because it brings up stories from the past. It makes me sentimental, but it doesnt make me sad. Theyre happy thoughts.SIDEBAR: A FRIEND IN DEEDCoping with the loss of a loved one is hard enough, and doing it alone can make the situation downright unbearable. And it is for that very reason that Tahoe Forest Hospice was established in 1997.We provide end-of-life care thats about comfort and focusing on the quality life, says Wendy Lewis, hospice director. We offer pain management and comfort care for the patient as well as their families.In its nine years, Tahoe Forest Hospice has helped more than 500 families find comfort in loss by offering in-home services and counseling. Without Hospice I would find this much more difficult, Jane Bibeault says. It has felt like a very loving family. You dont feel alone; you feel connected in all aspects of your life.That ability to connect comes through the devotion of hospice employees, Bibeault says, who never think twice about answering late-night calls for help or accommodating any request.The list of services that Tahoe Forest Hospice provides is long, and includes everything from in-home nursing, to spiritual care, childrens grief support and volunteers to deliver groceries.My employees are very caring and they have a special place in their hearts to make sure that people die with dignity, Lewis says. It takes a special kind of practitioner, but once youre bitten by the bug, its yours for life.Caring for a single patient costs Hospice about $230 per day, but the organization is only reimbursed a little more than half of that amount by Medicare or private insurance, according to Lewis. The remainder is supplemented by donations and revenue generated by Tahoe Forest Hospice & Thrift Stores.SIDEBAR: PREPARE FOR THE WORSTPreparing the necessary paperwork for the end of life can be a time-consuming and emotional process, but as most estate planning and probate lawyers will tell you, those documents can end up being worth far more than their weight in gold.There are a couple major documents that nearly all adults should have, says Kelley Carroll, a partner at Porter Simon law offices in Truckee, who specializes in estate planning, probate and trust law. Advanced Health Care Directive: This document allows a person to appoint a family member or friend to make medical decisions in the event that the directive holder or beneficiary cannot. It also allows the directive holder to outline the kind of end-of-life care they would like to have, such as cutting or maintaining life support, or any desires for organ donations.Advanced Health Care directives have come to replace living wills, Carroll says, because they offer the beneficiary holder greater control. Living wills are better than nothing, but if youre going to take the time to do it, then just go with the health care directive because you accomplish more with the same amount of effort. Living Trust: This document allows a beneficiary to name a trustee that will manage the beneficiarys assets in the event that the document holder is incapacitated or can no longer responsibly manage their own assets while they are still alive. This document is of particular importance for people who are not married and might not want their parents in charge of making medical decisions for them, Carroll says. If there is no living trust, then a family must go through a process called probate in which a judge will select a trustee for the beneficiary. This process can be very costly and result in a selection that the beneficiary would not favor. Financial Power of Attorney: This document overlaps with a living trust but has added features, Carroll says, and it is important to have both.The person appointed in a living trust can take care of your money and your property, but there are certain financial rights and obligations that are personal that a trustee cannot deal with, Carroll says. A financial power of attorney gives a trustee the ability to sign the beneficiarys tax forms, access an IRA, handle insurance, and access other private money sources.

The end of life is a topic that many find difficult to face, and for obvious reason. It is painful. It is often traumatic. It is permanent. But the end of life can be enlightening. It can be soothing and it can be fulfilling. So much about living and maturing is about dealing with loss, says Kathryn Hill, spiritual care and bereavement coordinator for Tahoe Forest Hospice. What gives me the most reward is empowering families to walk through this journey together and see it as a precious time that can be done well that it is a sacred time and that you dont want to jump over it, Hill says.It doesnt have to be OK, but no matter what the relationship, there will be a point to acknowledge that you shared your life together.For patients and families, coming to that realization takes time, but the fear, anger and confusion often come quickly.Ignoring those emotions in a time of trauma and crisis is unnecessary, Hill tells her clients; better to accept them head-on and work through the fog. Griefs a part of nature that washes over us like a tsunami and it is important to acknowledge its depth, Hill says. At some point you have to be gentle with yourself and surrender to the fact that this is your life and that it has changed.

Surrendering is not something most Americans do well. We know how to achieve, how to accrue and how to win. But accepting loss is something that many people have to learn, Hill says.That lesson can be a difficult one, as Jane Bibeault will tell you, but it can be better understood and made easier if there is time to learn patiently.[The end of life] is a no-holds barred opportunity to share everything in a concentrated time, Jane says. For so long it was hello, goodbye and youre out the door. After her husbands cancer diagnoses, Jane says she and Bob made it a priority to spend personal, intimate, and often uncomfortable time with each of their five children in preparation for Bobs death. This, they say, was the most important and fulfilling part of the dying process.This has definitely pulled us together more if thats possible, Bob says. The greatest service is talking. Dont wait to do these things. Its the biggest mistake a person can make to let your pride get in the way.Often it can be hard to voice the unspoken, Hill says. Grudges can go unforgiven, questions go unanswered and loving sentiments go unsaid. And that unfinished business, she says, can make the burden of a loss much heavier to bear. You dont want to walk around thinking I wish I would have said something, Jane says. Dont worry if there are tears; its all part of it.Truckee resident Bob Bibeault passed away in the company of his family on Nov. 14. I was fortunate to have met him and his wife Jane while writing this story, and I would like to thank them for allowing me into their home at such a personal time.

Its comforting to think that time will allow preparation for the loss of a loved one, but there is, of course, no guarantee.Whether families and friends are prepared for loss or not, grieving is likely, Hill says, and its something that everyone must learn to deal with in their own way.Bev Imparato says she can understand that fact. Imparato, a 70-year-old Donner Lake resident, lost her husband, Gus, to lung cancer in June of 2004, and says that even after two years, she is still grieving her loss. I still talk to him periodically it makes me feel better, Imparato says. And I still use we.Grieving is a natural process that must be worked through after nearly every loss, says Hill, because it serves as a time in which people naturally feel the need to reflect on life, assess its value and find some meaning.There are different kinds of grieving styles that our culture tends to dictate how long it should take and what it should look like, Hill says. But grief has its own time that has nothing to do with our conscious life.In some instances, grieving a loss, enduring heartache and working through pain can be a blessing.I found that Guss passing brought my two boys closer together and now they call me at least once a week, if not more, Imparato says. I look forward to the get-togethers like Thanksgiving because it brings up stories from the past. It makes me sentimental, but it doesnt make me sad. Theyre happy thoughts.

Coping with the loss of a loved one is hard enough, and doing it alone can make the situation downright unbearable. And it is for that very reason that Tahoe Forest Hospice was established in 1997.We provide end-of-life care thats about comfort and focusing on the quality life, says Wendy Lewis, hospice director. We offer pain management and comfort care for the patient as well as their families.In its nine years, Tahoe Forest Hospice has helped more than 500 families find comfort in loss by offering in-home services and counseling. Without Hospice I would find this much more difficult, Jane Bibeault says. It has felt like a very loving family. You dont feel alone; you feel connected in all aspects of your life.That ability to connect comes through the devotion of hospice employees, Bibeault says, who never think twice about answering late-night calls for help or accommodating any request.The list of services that Tahoe Forest Hospice provides is long, and includes everything from in-home nursing, to spiritual care, childrens grief support and volunteers to deliver groceries.My employees are very caring and they have a special place in their hearts to make sure that people die with dignity, Lewis says. It takes a special kind of practitioner, but once youre bitten by the bug, its yours for life.Caring for a single patient costs Hospice about $230 per day, but the organization is only reimbursed a little more than half of that amount by Medicare or private insurance, according to Lewis. The remainder is supplemented by donations and revenue generated by Tahoe Forest Hospice & Thrift Stores.

Preparing the necessary paperwork for the end of life can be a time-consuming and emotional process, but as most estate planning and probate lawyers will tell you, those documents can end up being worth far more than their weight in gold.There are a couple major documents that nearly all adults should have, says Kelley Carroll, a partner at Porter Simon law offices in Truckee, who specializes in estate planning, probate and trust law. Advanced Health Care Directive: This document allows a person to appoint a family member or friend to make medical decisions in the event that the directive holder or beneficiary cannot. It also allows the directive holder to outline the kind of end-of-life care they would like to have, such as cutting or maintaining life support, or any desires for organ donations.Advanced Health Care directives have come to replace living wills, Carroll says, because they offer the beneficiary holder greater control. Living wills are better than nothing, but if youre going to take the time to do it, then just go with the health care directive because you accomplish more with the same amount of effort. Living Trust: This document allows a beneficiary to name a trustee that will manage the beneficiarys assets in the event that the document holder is incapacitated or can no longer responsibly manage their own assets while they are still alive. This document is of particular importance for people who are not married and might not want their parents in charge of making medical decisions for them, Carroll says. If there is no living trust, then a family must go through a process called probate in which a judge will select a trustee for the beneficiary. This process can be very costly and result in a selection that the beneficiary would not favor. Financial Power of Attorney: This document overlaps with a living trust but has added features, Carroll says, and it is important to have both.The person appointed in a living trust can take care of your money and your property, but there are certain financial rights and obligations that are personal that a trustee cannot deal with, Carroll says. A financial power of attorney gives a trustee the ability to sign the beneficiarys tax forms, access an IRA, handle insurance, and access other private money sources.