My Personal Journey & Inspiration
My fathers life began in a little “shtetl” in Poland, escaped right before the war broke out and emigrated to South Africa, the only country that was allowing Jews being persecuted by Nazi Germany. English as a 3rd or 4th language, he went on to a prestigious, lifelong career committed to the “Art of Plastic Surgery”, as an MD, DDS (Facial Plastic Surgery, ENT, Reconstructive of the Head and Neck). He met my mother in South Africa, they were married for over 50 years.
I just didn’t see the signs. The hoarding, lack of returning phone calls, never seeing them because “they were busy”. Meanwhile, my father fell and was in a hospital, and my mothers mental health started failing. They were perfect targets for rampant scams and fraud. A Court Appointed Conservator was assigned, which at least assisted in protecting the enormous and egregious mess that was my parents personal and financial life.
I never got to see my Dad before he was well into his Alzheimers and Dementia disease; he passed away in 2017.
They didn’t have a burial plot or a plan on how his last wishes should be. No plan on where my Mom was going to go, or how she was going to be taken care of. My family home was pillaged. My relationship with my only sibling will never be the same. One cannot imagine the emotional toll this has taken on all of us.
They both had the means and ability to prepare to ‘retire’ peacefully and happily. But perhaps they both came from a time and place that simply just didn’t talk about future plans – they were going to live forever.
My story is very unique and dramatic of what could happen if you don’t prepare, become aware of the signs, educate and ask hard questions, to protect your loved ones both physically, emotionally and financially.
My heart will be forever fragmented with the guilt of not “seeing the signs” to be there to protect them. Every day I am working on forgiving myself and others that allowed this to happen.
But, part of this continued journey of healing and forgiveness has been with finding my life’s purpose, in becoming a resource to others. To hopefully and prayerfully lessen the burdens navigating the most precious of times in your loved ones lives.
This site is dedicated to my family.
Rest in peace, Leslie Bernstein, may your memory be a blessing.