A Bitter End

by longformphilly

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Emily Guendelsberger | Philadelphia City Paper | July 2014

One thing that nobody disagrees about: Joseph Yourshaw wanted to die.

“He talked about it to anyone who would listen to him,” says his daughter, Barbara Mancini, 58. “He said he didn’t want to be a burden on my mom, he didn’t like living like that, he didn’t like being old, he hurt all over.”

Mancini, an emergency room nurse, lives in Roxborough, two hours away from her parents’ home in Pottsville. She helped her father with the official parts of the big decisions he made about his end-of-life care — helping him make a living will and a Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR) in 2010, when he was 91, and serving as his health-care power of attorney.

Her father would often tell her that he wanted to die, she says. “I usually wouldn’t say anything, I’d just listen to him. I’d say, ‘I know, Dad. I know you don’t like living like this.’ What am I going to say? ‘I know it’s hard for you.’”

Writer bio: Emily Guendelsberger is a senior writer at Philadelphia City Paper. She has written for various publications, including both alt-weeklies and the Philadelphia Daily News, since 2007.

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