Tag Archives: Bernard Richard Schiffer

Finding Purpose In Life


Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. George Bernard Shaw

Creating a life to love after your love one makes their life transition can be difficult to achieve, but it is critical to our own health quote-about-love-is-an-unconditional-commitmentand well-being.  Sure, our fond memories of the love we shared linger on in our hearts, but we have to find a way to move on, find purpose, and create a new life to love.

Finding purpose in life is one of the critical components enhancing our happiness.  Happiness is not predicated on having the biggest car, fancy house, or the most money in the bank.  Happiness is predicated on finding purpose in life.

“There is one aspect of grief that I think all of us will experience in one way or another.  We stop living!  Once you come to the realization that you have stopped living, then you realize the time has come to move on and live your life in the present, with health, happiness and confidence…  Like a plant that needs to be watered to regain blooms, we too, in our grief process, need to be watered so we can bloom again.  There is no timetable for a new bloom, but without the proper nurturing and care, our soil will become dry and we start to wither away” (p. 95).

In order to live again, we have to find purpose in our life while living in the present with health, happiness and confidence.  That is why it was important for me to write “What’s The Deal With Caregiving”  in order to give back to the vast community of family Caregivers across the nation. Because it is through giving back where we find purpose and meaning in life.

3D1

Amazon Prime members with free shipping of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” is available by clicking here! 

You can also purchase “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” on this website by clicking here! 

“What’s The Deal With Caregiving” is a People Tested Publication 

For media inquires and bulk purchases please contact me at Chris@thepurplejacket.com

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What’s The Deal With Caregiving


Friends: Today my book, “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” went live on Amazon. My goal with this book is to help guide you through your Caregiving journey, from beginning to end, because Caregiving has no gender or orientation boundaries, we just care for the one we love.

3D1I am dedicating this book to all Caregivers and their Caree’s with an Irish Proverb: “May the road rise up to meet you: May the wind be always at your back: May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home: And may the hand of a friend always be near.”

If you enjoyed reading our Pulitzer Prize Nominated Story, “In Sickness and Health: A Couples Final Journey” I hope you enjoy reading this book as well.

In memory of Bernard Richard Schiffer, I thank all of you for your friendship, support and love.

To purchase “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” on Amazon simply click here! 

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Our Follow-Up Story. Life after death: Couple’s story sparks change


Cartier gold-rimmed aviator bifocals, classic disco era. A pair of immaculate, brilliant-green Florsheim slipons, men’s size 7, worn once yearly — on St. Patrick’s Day — for more than three decades. Bathrobes still hanging on a hook.

It’s taken Chris MacLellan about three months to prepare himself for this moment, the sorting through of everything that his partner, Bernard Richard Schiffer, left behind when he died March 9 of esophageal cancer at age 83.

There are the memories, unresolved feelings of loss and a sense of emptiness in the Deerfield Beach home they’d shared for 11 years.

There are the surprises, like the handwritten note tucked inside one of Schiffer’s alphabetized address books: “To love someone is to see the face of God.”

“I think Richard intended me to find the note. I think he left it for me,” said MacLellan, 57.

And there’s the legacy. The couple had agreed to let the Sun Sentinel chronicle their final months together in hopes of bringing awareness to the special challenges that lesbian and gay seniors face at the end of life. Since their story, “In Sickness and In Health, ran April 13, MacLellan has been overwhelmed by the response.

MacLellan has seen everything from letters of support or condolence to health care institutions pledging policy revisions.

Many who read the couple’s story expressed surprise that health care rights are so connected with marriage rights. Some gay couples said they are now considering marrying, even though they live in states like Florida that do not recognize such unions.

“I appreciate the people who have reached out, the kindness. It’s hard to believe that two ordinary people, who lived in a little house in Deerfield Beach, could make such an impact,” said MacLellan, who works as senior services coordinator for SunServe, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning social service agency in Wilton Manors.

‘Who are you?’

In the story, MacLellan described rushing Schiffer to Broward Health North’s emergency room in September and being ignored by intake staff while they questioned his partner.

“When we first got to the ER, [the medical staff] paid 100 percent attention to Richard and didn’t really acknowledge my presence,” MacLellan said at the time. “When I tried to speak up, and give them more of the full story about what was happening, they said, ‘Who are you?'”

With Broward Health Staff

Speaking to upper level management at Broward Health North. Photos: Carline Jean, Sun-Sentinel Staff Photographer

A day after the story’s publication, MacLellan received a call from Broward Health North CEO Pauline Grant.

She invited MacLellan to speak at the hospital’s next management meeting.

“I was disappointed that we didn’t do a better job,” Grant said. “The emergency department is our front door, and we need to treat all of our families and patients with courtesy and respect.”

On May 15, MacLellan sat in a hospital conference room surrounded by almost 50 doctors, nurses and administrators, calmly retelling his experiences and taking questions. The atmosphere was serious but respectful.

“This is not right, and we are taking it as an opportunity to do better,” Grant said at the meeting.

Now, Broward Health North is working with SunServe to design sensitivity training for hospital employees, starting with those in the emergency room. In the past year, SunServe has been training nurses and health care workers in how to best treat LGBT patients, as well as analyze a facility’s practice for bias — such as using only “single, married and divorced” on records. SunServe has certified two assisted-living centers and a home health agency but had never worked with a hospital before, said the agency’s administrative director, Bryan Wilson.

Talking to Broward Health

Photos: Carline Jean Sun-Sentinel Staff Photographer

MacLellan will become one of the program’s trainers this summer, working with Broward Health North and other facilities.

There are few formal initiatives to make the health care system more welcoming to gay and lesbian patients, said Catherine Thurston, senior director of programs for SAGE, a national advocacy organization for LGBT elders that has helped train about 4,000 health care providers nationwide. More facilities and providers are willing to take steps, she added, as they recognize gay and lesbian seniors are among their patients.

 

 

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“In Sickness and In Health:” My Response to Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi comments on same-sex marriage


“Love, care and commitment is the same for any two people” – Chris MacLellan

Friends,

I’ve taken a break from blogging  in order to adjust to life without my partner, Bernard Richard Schiffer.  Your letters, emails, phone calls of support for me over the past few months is  most appreciated!

On Friday, May 30th I was alerted to the news that Florida’s Attorney General submitted a court document stating  that “same-sex marriages impose significant public harm.”  On Tuesday, June 3rd, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial page wrote, “State wrong in its fight against same-sex marriage” and referenced Richard and I, and our Caregiving story, “In Sickness and in Health A Couples Final Journey”.   In Wednesday’s Sun-Sentinel, Attorney General Pam Bondi responded to Tuesday’s editorial.

Upon reflection of these events, it is important for me to share a letter with you that I have mailed to Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi in regards to her comments on same-sex marriage.

June 3, 2014

 The Honorable Pam Bondi

Attorney General of Florida

The Capitol PL-01

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050

Dear Madam Attorney General:

I write this letter in the hopes of sharing a position contra to that identified in your recent court documents that recognizing same-sex marriages “would impose significant public harm.”

Maybe you heard about our story in the Sun-Sentinel a few weeks ago?  I’m told over 400,000 people have read our story, “In Sickness and Health A Couple’s Final Journey.”  As Diane Lade eloquently wrote, “being an older gay couple not recognized by law, navigating a system they feared could rob them of their ability to care for each other in sickness and in health.  After all, legal rights regarding death are intricately entwined with the privileges granted when people marry.”

We never intended that the love that my partner Bernard Richard Schiffer and I shared could become politicized, until I read your recent comments about how same-sex marriage “would impose significant public harm.’

I am fair-minded enough to know that each side has a right to argue your position in this fair state of Florida.  However to deny, ignore, wish away, pretend, assume and say that there are negative consequences in granting basic equal rights, indicates a fundamental disrespect  to gay rights and human dignity.  The arguments you use are the same for those who argued that ‘separate was equal’ and advocated for anti-miscegenation laws.    Like many before you who debated, and denied equality in our society, your current position on this critical issue will be sealed on the wrong side of history.

​I invite you to read our story in the Sun-Sentinel. In fact, I will even share the link with you: http://interactive.sun-sentinel.com/lgbt-dying-couple/.  You might also be interested in some of the readers’ comments that were posted on-line, too.  After reading our story, looking at the pictures and viewing the video, please tell me, the people in this great state of Florida, and everyone in the country,  how the love that Richard and I shared “would impose significant public harm?”

The late Maya Angelou said it right, “Love recognizes no barriers, it jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” Once someone understands that love, care and commitment is the same for any two people who are joined together as one, then it becomes obvious why marriage equality is such an important issue in our society.

My prayer for you is that you will see that love is universal and not unique or limited to heterosexuals.

Respectfully,

Christopher J. MacLellan

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

 

 

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Filed under advocacy, Intergenerational, Legal, LGBT, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors

Love Is The Winner


❤ ❤ LOVE IS THE WINNER ❤ ❤
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
❤ I LOVE YOU ❤

By Mary MacLellan-Stough

Three magical words that make a heart flutter.
Will make someone’s heart melt like butter
Just hearing those words uttered.
Life is full of ups and downs
And at times the see-saw seems weighed down.
Then someone comes along and touches your heart and soul
and takes your breath away.
When you wish upon a star
Your loved one isn’t very far.
They are closer to us than you will ever know-
Tossing pennies from a far
Letting us know how loved we are.
The hugs we feel when no one else is near
The dimes, the parking places we find
Remind us we are not alone as we fear.
Those hugs we feel, they are real,
The soft whispers in our ear
Next thing we know we shed a tear.
The world keeps moving-life goes on
But we keep trying to be strong.
The signs are there, we just need to be still,
Then there is a yellow butterfly, which gives you a chill.
They come when we least expect them, but need them the most.
The timing is never right when a loved one departs
But their physical journey here is over, time to start a-new
In a place that is all brand new.
No pain, no suffering-all sorrow is gone
Replaced with happiness and a glow
That one day we all will know.
Imagine the reception when we arrive
Our loved one(s) will be there to greet us home.
We are never alone on this journey here on earth.
Richard is up there watching over you Chris.
“Put in a good word, tell everyone hello.”
Until we meet again TLO ❤ ❤ ❤
With Love to you from me
Your younger sister I will always be…Meo

Mary

Mary MacLellan-Stough

 

This poem was beautifully written by my sister, Mary MacLellan-Stough and will appear on the back folder of our  Celebration of Bernard Richard Schiffer life in both Fort Lauderdale and St. Louis

 

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Whew! What a week…and then some!


The ride to St. Louis  was just a tad more difficult than we expected, yet we made it back safe and sound even if we had to spend one additional night on the road.  As we motored in from Illinois, it is was a refreshing sight to see the Gateway Arch ahead.

As we enter our second week back in St. Louis, The Little One has struggled to regain his strength.  The radiation and chemotherapy has literally taken the wind out of his sails.   Some of the simplest things for him to do often takes so much effort.   We do hope that his strength will come back so that he can enjoy some of the simple things in life like listening to his favorite operas

My routine has changed quite a bit, too.  While it is an honor to be a caregiver, the caregiver has to be mindful of their energy level as well.  There is quite a bit of responsibility that goes into caregiving,  none as important as caring for yourself.   I am most fortunate to have a wonderful job and an understanding organization to work for; I am thankful that my Real Estate clients are patient as well.   We know that we are not in this alone.

At least for now, it is clear that The Little One will not be able to stay by himself.  As he regains his strength we can revisit this issue,  but for now it is clear that he will need  supervision as we move forward with this insidious disease.  This is difficult for him because he is so fearlessly independent, yet we all have make adjustments to the hand that was dealt.

We have another three weeks to wait before we go for the follow-up PET scan.   The PET scan will determine the next course of action; we do know that there will be NO more radiation! By all accounts we acknowledge that the tumor has shrunk; yet the physical and mental anguish of these treatments pale in comparison to what an ordeal this has been for ‘The Little One.’

Martin Luther King once said: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, you just have to take the first step.”   As we move forward, our faith is made stronger by the love and care of our family and friends as we continue to battle this disease!

 

 

 

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The Future is Now


“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone Else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

As I pondered this quote from the late Steve Jobs, I took quite a bit of solace and inspiration from it.  As a caregiver, you freely give your life to someone else while being mindful of your own individuality and needs.    As The Little One heads into his final four days of radiation treatments, our lives are changing before our eyes.   We can’t predict the future, we can only deal with the present.   We intend to live our lives to the fullest and enjoy each and every day we have.

The key here is not to wait until there is a serious illness to have this revelation.  We have been fortunate to have followed our heart and intuition since we became friends.   While our life is different because of the  illness, the illness will not control our lives.

While completing my internship in Hospice a few years ago, I was often observed families who were trying to resolve life long issues at the ’11th’ hour.  We all know that is an impossible task, yet understandable under the circumstances.   We can’t fix the past, yet we should not live in it either.    We can live today and search for tomorrow; that is what life and hope is all about.   Or as Steve Job’s put it…”Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

 

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