We wish you and your family much peace, joy and discussion this holiday season!
Thank you for your involvement in a very full year of helping others consider, communicate and document their end of life preferences so that their care can be well-aligned with personal values, goals and beliefs.
Your advocacy for better end of life experiences is so appreciated by all of us at Life Matters Media. Please know that your support of our organization and the mission we share has wide-reaching impact…much of which we will never know.
It just takes one conversation to change the course of the end of one’s life…and the lives of an entire family.
As many of you know, my father, Nick Belisomo, was diagnosed with glioblastoma this May. The prognosis was poor, but we thought at the time that he might have a year or so to live.
Despite the best care, Dad’s situation soon went from bad to worse. He suffered seizures almost immediately following his final radiation therapy, and my family was faced with a hospice decision just three months after his initial cancer treatment.
This decision is never an easy one, and it’s usually accompanied by a heart-wrenching shift in goals of care. During my years in advance care planning education, however, I knew that a common regret among many opting for hospice is that they do so “too late”… and miss out on time needed to gain maximum benefit from the care.
This holiday season, I am so grateful that my father had given voice to his wishes. In doing so, Dad gave his family the time and ability to come to peace with what was happening.
During his more than two months in hospice care, my father was able to start a business he had planned prior to falling ill. He was able to enjoy his grandchildren’s visits in a beautiful, non-threatening space. He was able to pray with his favorite priest and eat and drink whatever he desired (that is no small thing when someone is terminally ill!). Dad was able to do things he wouldn’t have been capable of had he remained in the Neuro-ICU…or attempted what would have most likely been futile medical measures.
His contributions to our family and to his community would not have happened had he not made his wishes known. My father was the type of guy who didn’t talk much…so when he said something, he usually was able to get our attention.
If he couldn’t have what he wanted most – more time – Dad had made it clear that he wanted to make the most of the short time he had. Before he was ever ill…Dad let his loved ones know that he hoped to avoid hospitalization and extensive measures that would dull his sharp mind.
Starting the Conversation with your loved ones doesn’t have to be a drawn-out ordeal. If you’re anything like my father, the conversation about the end of life will be short…so you can get on with the business of living life in the moment.
My father gave me many gifts, but the most important of his gifts was his example.
On a personal note, I thank you so much for the outpouring of support my family has received in this difficult season. Please know that Nick Belisomo died just as he lived: very well. From all of us at Life Matters Media, we wish the same for you and your family… at the conclusion of rich, rewarding and full lives!
Wishing you comfort and joy,
President and Co-Founder
Life Matters Media