Yearly Archives:2023

Learning Something Good from Something Sad

Important information if you are an organ donor or plan to be.

logo of CORE with words Center for Organ Recovery & Education; A Pledge for Life; Donate LifeAs many of you know, my Significant Other, Thomas Hawkins, passed away July 2nd. From the time you could add Organ Donor status to your driver’s license, Tom added it to his. He added it to his Living Will and his final directives. He was a firm believer in the benefits of the program. But when the time came, and he was placed on Hospice, the option of being an Organ Donor was not a possibility. The numerous serious health issues he experienced had taken a toll on his body. What I learned was that to be an Organ Donor, your organs must go from you to a living person. That wasn’t going to happen for him.

But fortunately for me, my son, Christopher, reached out to his sister-in-law, Jessica Yokubeak, (Christine’s sister) an Organ Donor Referral Manager for the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE), to see if there was any opportunity. Jessica let him know that although organ donation was not an option, there were other programs that might be suitable. One that she explained was for using tissue to help with the K9 Search and Rescue training program. Because Tom was a big dog lover, this was perfect. And tissue donation can also save and heal lives i.e., burn victims. But being an organ donor does not automatically allow for all the various programs. Some require that you enroll separately.

And I was so grateful that Jessica was able to make this happen. As I was appointed as Tom’s Healthcare Power of Attorney, Jessica spent over an hour on the phone with me going through the necessary documents. She managed to get this all submitted early in the morning. Early that afternoon, Tom passed away leaving behind a legacy of helping others.

CORE took on the responsibility of transporting Tom from the facility where he had been living to the funeral home. They provided us with personalized prayer cards, and some other mementos of this special program. (For those who may be concerned, the services of CORE are free and may reduce the cost of final expenses.) Also, I learned that many nursing homes and assisted living facilities do not contact CORE even if you have notified the facility in advance that you are an Organ Donor. So, it is suggested that the family contact CORE directly.

So, if you have made the decision to be an organ donor as part of your final planning, you may want to see what other options are available if organ donation becomes a non-option for you.

For more information, Jessica would be happy to provide you with more details. She can be reached at
CORE by calling 412-963-3550, option #1 or 412-290-8375. 

– Mary Grace Musuneggi

When a Man is Definitely NOT a Plan

“Man accused of murdering wife of 42 years after she questioned him on finances.”

Recently I came across an article about a man who called the police saying he had found his wife unresponsive in their home. He was eventually charged with her murder. Authorities allege that he killed his wife after she began asking questions about their financial situation. He stabbed her multiple times after she realized there were various discrepancies in their financial statements. Although he had statements for one account showing $97,000, the actual value was $90. She discovered that another account that she believed the husband had opened for them never really existed.

When couples marry, the union is like starting a small business. Both partners bring their skills to the arrangement, and one may be better at handling finances. But although one may be better at decorating, or planning vacations, couples usually meet and talk about the decisions that are made. So just like a small business that has monthly review meetings or annual progress meetings, couples should do the same with their finances.

For women, having a handle on the finances can be a great safety net, as many women stay in abusive relationships as they fear they have no access to money. Having a savings account, investment account and retirement account of your own gives you independence, and options. It can also be a safety net if your spouse becomes disabled or dies.

See that you both are adequately insured. Plan for contingencies.

Also be very aware of any credit card debt. If your spouse defaults on a loan or credit card payment, you can be held responsible. If your spouse is reluctant to share information with you, this can be a red flag.

Just a reminder that relationships can end either by choice or by chance. Here’s hoping that yours will last until the end of time, but just in case…

Mary Grace Musuneggi

Order your copy of A Man is Not a Plan or contact us to discuss your situation.

Spring – Time to Learn Some New Habits

Springtime is a time of renewal, and that should be true of your self-care. Read some ideas about ways to get yourself motivated and moving this spring. We found a great article that includes nine fun and easy ways to feel better and get more done! They include:

  1. Start your spring cleaning (and keep it up)
  2. Go to bed and wake up early
  3. Start taking morning walks
  4. Designate one day a week to self-care
  5. Minimize your constant phone checking
  6. Make time to read every day
  7. Journal your thoughts
  8. Exercise and get your body moving
  9. Drink more water

Read the full article from Fracture here:

What is your “Spring Resolution”? Contact us to share or visit us on Facebook or Instagram.