“I started reading this book as a physician but soon became a son. It’s a story for each and every one of us with elderly parents. We will share this daughter’s emotional roller coaster of hope, anger, depression, guilt, and gratitude. And universally, we will cry and wonder if it’s too late to change our own relationships.”
Dr. Steven Leviston, Internist/Endocrinologist
“The importance of conversations regarding end-of-life care cannot be overstated. Dignity and comfort must be our goal. This book dramatically underscores the importance of quality caregiving on a personal and institutional level, while exposing us to the deep pain of loss. They Live On should be widely discussed.”
Peter G. Young, Skilled Nursing Facility Administrator & Clinical Ethicist
“For me, the book is very, very powerful and made me reflect time and time again on all the elderly people in my life. It shares the emotions and struggles that each and every one of us will face at some time in the future. It was a wake-up call for me also, to increase the intensity of the love and the relationships today, as this is the only time we have. I can totally recommend this book for all sons and daughters.”
Mark McGregor, CEO Leadership Center, Zurich, Switzerland
“At the end of Patricia Nugent’s harrowing journey with her parents on the way to their deaths, which she records so vividly, so obsessively, so accurately, I myself was devastated. One of the things that makes this story more powerful, even mythic, is her unashamed, openly-expressed love for them…Before the immensity and irrevocability of death, she … regresses to the fierceness of an infant’s feelings for its parents, especially for her mother — a love of undiminished, even savage, intensity…It is this primal connection with her parents that…opened her to the full range of her feelings about them…It is the absolute purity and single-mindedness of her love that places this account in a realm of fairy tales — one that we instinctively know is connected to the deepest reality.”
Edward Field, Author, After the Fall, Poems Old and New
“They Live On is a truly seminal account of a labor of love and compassion. The reader is invited to accompany the writer on a most intimate, heartfelt and wrenching journey through the deeply painful experience of loss and bereavement. On this journey the author as adult child confronts and endures the fear and heartbreak of realizing the mortality of her parents and their imminent demise. She rises to the challenge and eventually transcends this through her tender, devoted and compassionate caregiving until the eventual passing of each parent. “They Live On” provides a guide and illuminates a path to a heightened awareness and poignant, bittersweet acknowledgment of both the struggles with and gifts from each parent. For all adult children who have lost their parents, truly ‘They Live On.‘
Raymond R. Pettis, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Clinical Supervisor
“This book captures the very essence of what it’s like to be a caregiver for a dying person. As a former Hospice nurse, I recommend it for families, health care providers, Hospice volunteers, and book clubs. It gives us a much needed personal glimpse of saying goodbye for the last time. You will laugh and cry.”
“This is a deeply moving and profoundly honest memoir of Nugent’s experience of seeing each of her parents out of this life, over a two year span. Her ability to recreate in vivid language her parents and their familial relationships brings the experience to intense life. The daughter’s narrative is made more meaningful by her willingness to examine in reflection, her own actions, doubts and fears. The book is an affirmation of love and duty, in all its complexity.”
Dr. Christie Logan, Professor Emerita of Performance Studies, California State University at Northridge
“This is a beautiful book. It captures the tumult of emotions, the struggle between worry and hope, and the shifting relational dynamics of adult children and their parents. There is so much in here that is deeply personal and so much that is universal.”
Dr. Jim Hasenauer, Professor of Communication Studies, California State University at Northridge
Finished your book last night. It is a powerful book that is creatively written. You capture the tumult of conflicting emotions. It is an appropriate book for healing after one has gone through the difficult process of a parent’s death. It is also an appropriate guide to help one prepare and validate the diverse emotional challenge adult children face in the fight for dignity and end of life decisions for their parents. With the medical technology to prolong life that is now available, the issues are more complicated and books such as this are few. Thanks so much. It’s really beautiful.
Jim, Employee Recruiter……..Rochester, NY
Your words, thoughts and feelings were all very touching and so close to home. They helped me cry again (I think I disturbed some on my flight home) and come to closure (well, a little bit closer any way) to the things I felt and thought during our “process”…Thank you for putting your feelings on the line and on paper. It is comforting to know all those strange thoughts and feelings are, in fact, quite normal and part of the process.
Roger, Executive Vice President…….Chicago, Illinois
I finished reading your book over the weekend…it brought back many memories for me….Many emotions came back to the surface and I recall many of the same feelings you had which I equally shared during the last days of both of my parents lives. I continue to have some of those same feelings from time to time, but I don’t beat myself up anymore with anger and the what if scenarios. Thank you for an incredible read. You are a great writer! Your story also helped me to understand, commiserate and perhaps it somewhat aided me in moving on.
Cheryl, Transportation Director…….Saratoga Springs, NY
I’m on my second read of your book, and I rarely read a book a second time right away. I’ve just placed an order for four copies, and I already know I’ll order more. I know your book will resonate with both family and Hospice caregivers. I intend to promote it. Thank you for the immediacy of this book. Thank you for working through the experience on paper, as you lived through every day of it…. My daughter must read it, too, in order to be accepting of all the feelings that come, without censuring or shaming.
Patricia, Ed.D., RN, Associate Professor, Emerita School of Nursing…..Morgantown, West Virginia
I just opened my mail from the day and…opened the book immediately…I am sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks. It actually feels like an amazing relief to just let myself cry.
Susan, Executive Coach…….Baltimore, Maryland
Thank you so much for writing your book. It was heartbreaking and cathartic all at once. You are so right; it is a universal process that most of us go through but few of us talk about. I found so many similarities with your story and mine. I will stop at nothing to ensure my parents get the care and respect they deserve…There are moments of beauty, and courage, and lessons to be learned but also terror and despair. I knew exactly what you meant when you wrote that there is no way to prepare for it and it is a club none of us want to join. I could go on and on… but will just say that your writing provided a profound service to me. I’m sure your book will bring great comfort to many people and that should make you feel good. (I am loaning my copy to a friend at work who recently lost his father and was intrigued when I started telling him about your story).
Sally, Advertising Executive………Newton, MA
I’ve just been through my first Christmas and birthday without my mom. As I read your book, it was nice to know that I’m not alone in my feelings and thoughts…I wish you much luck with your book and I’m sure it will do well. Thank you for sharing your story and your wonderful parents. I’m sure that your book will touch many others as it has touched me.
Catherine, Educator………Ballston Spa, NY
I finished reading your book…it was a moving and difficult experience even for me so can’t begin to imagine what you have gone through to share this with “the world”… I of course not only found it difficult to experience what you went through but of course it made me relive my own losses with my parents and their dying process… Most of all, the book makes us face our own mortality and to question what the “dash” between our birth date and our death date does, and can, represent.
Ann Marie, Infection Preventionist……….Rochester, NY
I made it to the first anniversary of my mom’s passing. On that day, I sat down with your book and read it from cover to cover. I can’t tell you how comforting it was for me. Because your story could easily be ANYone’s story. My dad still lives on, and I know that your words will be ever present in my mind as I go forward. I will remember that I don’t want regrets either. Thank you for sharing your story. I love your writing – it speaks so true to me.
Kathy, Bookkeeper/Homemaker/Daughter……….Sloansville, NY
Since I have read your book I have felt a comfort that someone else understands what this feeling is. I don’t feel like I’m alone on an island anymore. Your spoken words and your book have made me feel like I’m not crazy, I’m not a martyr or alone in these feelings that I am having….I just wanted to let you know how you have helped me.
Randi, LPN………..Ballston Spa, NY
I finished The Book last night…I did not want to complete it as I already knew the ending….but I wish to say that I loved reading it….I so can relate to all you have said, your feelings, your parents, everything…And so the story goes….so so many feelings and I just thought this was the best possible read I could have right now…I am going to my Book Club tonite and presenting this book as a possible read for the near future…. I thank you so so much for putting into words how I feel so frequently and also to be able to feel your emotions…
Judy, Teacher………Clifton Park, NY
THEY LIVE ON is a comfort to read on days I need to know that this journey and end of life process is all very right and that I am O.K. It’s a treasure. Just the other nite, I remembered a piece from the book where you sat next to your mom/dad on the little bed and watched tv … I did the same and dad loved the closeness that nite as did I (just wanted to let you know).
Catherine, Small Business Owner……Saratoga Springs, NY
It is a very moving and wonderful book, and I related to so much what you wrote and what you dealt with and what you felt. I can pick out so many pages where I was there with you. It helped me, once more, to know you had feelings and experiences I had. You have a gift for writing and I, for one, am so glad you decided to write “They Live On.”
Jo, Homemaker………Ballston Spa, NY
The first day you gave me your book, a woman came in and insisted on having it as her mother was dying, she was the caretaker, and she felt like God had sent her to the bookshop just to read your book. I gave her my copy because she was so overwhelmed. She called the next morning to tell me her mother passed away during the night. And to say how very appreciative she was of getting the book that day and of your having written the book. It was a perfect thing for her to have to help her get through that last day and also to know she wasn’t alone. She went on and on about how much she loved the book!!!
Robyn, Book Store Proprietor………Clifton Park, NY
I read your book over the holidays and so enjoyed it. I have passed it on to my father who has two parents in their 90’s currently still at home together but failing. I have no doubt your book will help many.
Erica, Director of Social Work…………Ballston Spa, NY
Today is three years since I lost my husband and I’ll be reading your words; it’s the only thing that allows me to “let go.” The rest of the time, it’s chin up and carry on, there’s too much to do.
Susan, Insurance Broker……..Oswego, NY
As I read, I could feel a sense of validation…that I’m “not alone” as far as caring for elderly parents. You have given people a gift.… As we start to care for my mom, your words will be of great support to me.
Ginny, LCSW/Mental Health Therapist……..Rochester, NY
I received a copy of your book and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it! I was struck by how similar our experiences were. I took care of my mother while trying to work for six years. I could relate to your stress and frustration, guilt and eventual acceptance after your parents died. I was nodding at your conversations with your mother’s doctor. I had a few like them as well.
Kate, Freelance Writer/Musician……..Herkimer, New York
Very insightful account of the roller coaster of emotions that we face as our parents near the end of life. It’s extremely difficult to acknowledge when a “cure” is no longer possible and palliative care is what is called for, but once that point is reached, you may form a closer bond with your parent than you’ve ever had before. Recommended reading for all parental care-givers, past and present — and for those who wonder how they will cope when the time comes.
Peter, Freelance Writer………Greenfield Center, NY
Your book is a very honest account of the family dynamics, medical system challenges and human emotions that are all part of dealing with a dying family member. Readers will realize what they are experiencing is normal and a natural part of the process. I think everyone with elderly parents would find this book helpful. It is inspiring, candid and also heartwarming!
Susan, School District Administrator………Amsterdam, NY
This book is a powerful story that conveys so much of the contradiction of emotions related to caregiving and loss coping. This book helps readers get in touch with those sensitive thoughts that are usually kept hidden… Certainly can recommend this book for reading by those that have traveled their own path and need to revisit it….this book will bring them ‘back-in-touch’.
Rick, Human Resource Executive…….Vineland, NJ
I was so blown away by your presentation, the way you talked…it was all so moving. I kept thinking that you showed such graciousness and humor. I was in such awe. Your book is going to be such a hit and a valuable resource for people. I am already going to make it a gift to anyone who joins my Caregiver coaching groups. Never doubt the power of your words. You are already touching so many lives.
Peg, Coach-Facilitator-Trainer…….New York, NY
Everyone was so receptive to and moved by your readings and your presentation. I liked the one comment that “you are a very classy lady” and presented so well. I was also impressed with your listening skills and ability to offer feedback after a comment, as well as the humor and lightness that you concluded with. I’m happy that we were able to offer the evening for our volunteers.
Pat, Hospice Volunteer Coordinator…….Saratoga Springs, NY
Your readings moved me to tears as I recall my present situation with my mom…Your words wrapped around a lifetime of experiences and emotions…truly no human being is exempt from them, and should be treated with respect and dignity. I need to remember that as I tend to the public in my work and daily life.
Wendy, LPN……..Galway, NY
Just a quick message to let you know how impressed I was with your reading at Borders yesterday. Your preliminary comments gracefully set the stage for the segments you chose to read, and the readings themselves were beautifully written and nicely delivered. You deserve the accolades you have/will receive. Well done!
Roger, College Professor………Albany, NY
I so enjoyed the privilege of attending the reading. Many thanks for sharing your talents, wisdom, experience and thoughts to connect with us on a painful, yet wonderful experience.
Joe, School Principal (retired)………Ballston Spa, NY