Q & A with Bernie – November 14, 2011

Question for Bernie:

small statueMy mom had a major stroke and is mostly paralyzed but her mind is fine. She needs something spiritual and positive. She lives in another state and so I can’t comfort her emotionally in-person. My dad is there but he does not offer that kind of emotional support. What do you suggest for audio CD’s? She is a religious person.

Bernie’s Answer:

I recommend that you select something for your Mom to listen to which will help her find peace of mind. Go to my Catalog on this website and click on Audiobooks and CDs, or just take this shortcut:


Go through the titles and descriptions of the audiobooks and CDs and look for something you think she might enjoy. If you find one, send it to her. Ask your Dad to help you find out from your Mom if she does like what you selected and if she would like more.

You could also contact our Wisdom of the Ages store and tell them what you are looking for. They may have some suggestions that are a good fit for your Mom. Here is a shortcut to that site:


Ask your Dad to play whatever you send to your Mom several times a day and mention that he might enjoy listening too.

You could also have the family make a CD with all of your voices telling family stories that were fun or loving. If you want to let your Mom hear your voice giving her words of comfort and healing thoughts, make a tape for her. When you know it has arrived, call your Dad and ask him to put it on for your Mom while you are on the phone with him. He can assure you that she is listening to it.



Question for Bernie:

violetsI am reading your new A Book of Miracles right now…I am reading one miracle a mornin g.  This morning I read about the woman with Stage 4 colon cancer and peritonitis (and lupus!) that was saved by her family’s faith, love and positive visualizations. The story was powerful, but I found my heart sinking. I was in the exact same situation with my 79-year-old mother just a few months ago. I flew out to be with her as soon as I learned what happened and found her unresponsive, on a ventilator, and with a doctor who said very little, but gave me the impression that this was a hopeless situation.

Mom had a Living Will and did not want the ventilator, so I had it removed. The doctor told me that she would be dead by the next day without it. I asked for a morphine pump and about 40 minutes later she was gone. I am asking myself if I did everything I could for her? I thought I was doing what she wanted by making her comfortable and easing her suffering, but I keep thinking that if I hadn’t made the decision about the ventilator, maybe she would still be here?

I want to mention that my mom knew you from Yale-New Haven Hospital. She worked in a lot of different departments over the years. I know she respected you deeply.

Anyway, I am not sure what I am asking. I know you can’t tell me if I made the right decision, but I am just so conflicted after reading that particular story in A Book of Miracles.

Thanks for any advice you can share with me.

Bernie’s Answer:

There is a time to live and a time to die. You did the right thing by letting your mom leave a body she could no longer enjoy.

I believe that when we leave our body, we become perfect again. I also know of mothers who, when told by their loved ones that it was okay to go, said, “I’m not going anywhere!”

My dad told my mom that he needed to “…get out of here.” My mom didn’t understand, and so I explained that he was talking about his body. He died several days later as the family gathered, and he died laughing at the stories my mom was telling us all.

I know of people who were brain dead and in a coma dying 15 minutes after their family said, “It’s okay to go—your love with stay with us.”

Your mom thanks you for releasing her, and her consciousness is still with you. If you need a sign, ask her for one to free you from any guilt you may be experiencing.

You did the right thing.

Only love is immortal.



Question for Bernie: (a follow-up message to the question above)

cats in a windowI just wrote you a little bit ago because I was worried that I hadn’t done enough for my mother before she died. I wanted to tell you that I was reading Susan Duffy’s list on your website and one of the items stuck out at me. It said “Letting go of those we love is the greatest gift of love.” I felt like that was my answer. I loved her, and I believed in my spirit that she did not want further treatment, so I let her go. Boy, I miss her, though!

Thanks for reading/listening. It was therapeutic for me.

Bernie’s Answer:

Read my book Buddy’s Candle. It has helped many people with the loss of loved ones.

I felt the void, too, when my parents died, and I was no longer someone’s child.

Thank you for your thoughtful, honest description of your own experience with loss. It will no doubt help someone else who sees it here.

Question for Bernie:

Hi Bernie,

I would like to ask you how to believe that I will be okay in the future. My thoughts always come back to “…what if this cancer recurs?” I am trying to be positive, but I am struggling. How do I stay physically healthy and mentally positive?

Bernie’s Answer:

You don’t live in the future–you live today. Think of the great lyrics of a classic country song,

Yesterday is dead and gone,
And tomorrow’s out of sight,
It’s so sad to be alone,
Help me make it through the night.

Kris Kristofferson
1969 Monument Records

When I thought our 7-year-old son would be dead in a year of cancer and was trying to get the family to react accordingly, my son said to me, “Dad, you’re handling this poorly.” He explained that the family was trying to enjoy the day, and I was putting a damper on things by acting depressed about the future.

To help change your anxious outlook, I recommend that you learn to meditate using a mantra. By repeating that mantra whenever you find yourself getting anxious about a recurrence of the cancer, you will go right into a calm, meditative state, just being in the present moment.

When you get anxious, picture your 90th birthday party. The more you let your thoughts about the future be only positive ones by visualizing yourself living a long, happy life, the less the anxious thoughts will break through.

If you don’t already have a beloved pet, I highly recommend getting a furry or feathered friend. Animals teach us so much about how to live in the moment.

You are in charge of what you think about, so don’t waste your lifetime worrying. Find the humor in life—remember, when in doubt, ask WWLD? (What would Lucy or Lassie do?)

We are all human, so when you slip forgive yourself. Reach out and ask those around you to be your ‘Positive Thinking’ coaches and to help you complete the new work of art that you are becoming.

You are a work in progress—enthusiastically embrace life with love for yourself and others.