My gift to all of you…for my birthday I decided to offer my book for free on Amazon for the next day or two. So, if you’ve been hesitating to download it, now is your chance! Enjoy!
I’ve been absent from my blog, lately. OK, very absent. Refrain from thinking I’ve abandoned my site or my project. In actuality, I’ve been busy writing and rewriting stories for a non-fiction anthology. The focus is on times spent with several older adults and the lessons I’ve learned; how these times together have impacted me. Several of the stories you have already read, but I’ve updated and expanded them. I’m over half done and hope to go into the revision/editing phase by the end of this week. It’s been very exciting, educational, yet stressful. I’ve got a title; but may soon ask for your input since it’s not been as easy as I thought to come up with a strong title. I hope you’ll stick with me as I make my way to the finish; maybe, help me out if I ask for input. Thanks for the support!
It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to post something…anything…a sign of life to show I still exist in the blogging sphere. I do still exist. Really, I do.
You see, I went and accepted a job even though I knew upon entering the interview for the position that it wasn’t going to be a good thing to do. But I did anyway. I was doing the right thing, the adult thing…what was expected of me. I had a house to start paying for again vs. an elderly family member doing it, bills, car payments and oh, yes….I’m a member of the huge student loan club. My unemployment and time had run out.
So I put on my game face. Didn’t let any of you see my concerns, my premonitions of disaster, my tears. I went to the job knowing just the place alone brought back memories of my last job there and made me fight back vomiting. I jumped in the pool of “try to see the positives”. I tried to give it my best. I’m actually still trying but my rope is getting very short. Maybe soon I’ll be able to write about all that has gone wrong with this job. Some nights when I would finally get home and tell my mom about some things she would stare at me in amazement. Then we would both start laughing at the shear horribleness of it all – like still not having a phone (didn’t get one until end of week 2). This is stressful and yet funny since my position focuses around answering calls. Or how they couldn’t find me a headset after that and I ended up with one that’s taped together. I’m still attempting to hear callers through it while pretty much everyone else has now been upgraded to a wireless headset. Yes, I could go ask to use someone’s old not taped together tethered headset but by this point, I’m tired of fighting and tired of doing other peoples’ jobs.
This past week, week 4, just synthesized all the worst into one big ball of “worstness”. I’m sure that’s not a real work but cut me some slack or creative license. I’m still processing it all. I come home brain dead with nothing in me to read, write or even study for my certification exam. I can’t write about those things yet. However, I knew I had to write something here to let you know I haven’t given up…I’m just being held hostage by my job.
I’ve put in motion a full steam ahead approach to get me the heck out of my current job…even if this means piecing a whole bunch of small jobs together. FYI, this job entailed a $20,000 pay cut so it wasn’t paying all the bills either. But aren’t food and gas for the car over-rated? The family, which means mom and I, oh and probably the cats too, have decided that no job is worth crying every day and night about, throwing up over and making you think about ways to stock pile pills and alcohol as your ultimate route of escape.
So please, have faith in me and my “Wisdom Project”. I will find a way back to my writing about all the amazing wisdom we as humans collect as we earn our years on this planet.
~For the past several Mondays I’ve been reading from the book, “Five Minutes on Mondays: Finding Unexpected Purpose, Peace and Fulfillment at Work”. It’s written by Alan Lurie, a rabbi with a business background working in commercial real estate. Several years ago, Mr. Lurie was asked by his boss to deliver a weekly sermon to the staff centering on business and ethics. He has compiled several of them in this handy little book. At this point, I’ve read three of those sermons or pep-talks. This week’s, titled “Try Them, Try Them: Developing Persistence” (pgs. 38-44) was unique and inspiring enough that it has driven me to want to share the insights and lessons learned.
~Just by reading the title, you know the main point is going to be about being persistent. Well, persistence is surely playing a role in my life as I continue my job search. I’m trying to remain positive and steadfast. However, as you read further into this piece, Mr. Lurie talks about how a co-worker of his finds Dr. Seuss’s story, “Green Eggs and Ham” to be one of the best stories of effective marketing. It is pointed out that one of the messages of this great children’s story is that of persistence – to market and sell the green eggs and ham to the uninterested and highly resistant grumpy character. As we recall, Sam-I-Am tries every angle. One doesn’t work, he immediately tries another, and then another and another, until he succeeds. As a matter of fact, once he succeeds, the once resistant grumpy character discovers he actually likes the dish. Geesh, what took him so long! Ah, well this lovely end realization also provides further wisdom and points of consideration for the adult reader to ponder. Let’s continue to explore.
~Not only does Sam-I-Am teach about persistence, the author of the piece points out several other lessons. Sam is rejected multiple times. (Oh, I understand that well, right now!) Yet Sam maintains a positive attitude. He remains optimistic and he doesn’t take the rejection personally. (Hmm maybe something I need to keep practicing and reminding myself of). It’s pointed out that he keeps his ego out of the situation. (Now that’s a tough one but a good one to try to embrace. It’s not about me even when I’m trying to sell me to a potential employer. It is about them and what they need as a best fit for a position. My needs are not of their concern or awareness for that matter!) Mr. Lurie next hones in on the fact that Sam believes in his product. He believes in it enthusiastically. If he didn’t or found himself bending the truth or his ethics just to get a sale then at some point it will undermine him, his conscience and his ethics. (OK, keep enthusiastically believing in myself and what I have to offer to an employer. I know I have great skills. Stop trying to sell myself short, bend my skills or my abilities just to say I got a job offer, any job offer. Bend too much just for the sake of a job and I may find I’m in high water or hate the job. Both will bring on a living hell I’ve experienced before and it was not good for either parties involved. The best fit job is out there for me and I will find it if it doesn’t find me first!)
~Lurie takes his insights to the next level. He notes it as a “subtle, spiritual lesson on the nature of persistence”. Sam is an agent of change. Oooh, the big feared concept of change! The resistant character is actually resisting change. He would rather stay in the comfort zone of eating what he knows he likes vs. his “desire to try something adventurous and the lure of playing it safe…a refusal to enter the unknown and accept the risk that comes with changing…old ways.” As I stated earlier, once he finally succumbs and tries the dish, he finds loves it. Sam had to keep at him until he accepted the chance to try and change his opinion/experience, resulting in a positive outcome.
~Lurie then writes this passage that rings so true in my life as it has happened multiple times.
“Dr. Seuss’s book is a story about the persistence of the call to growth and change. If you have experienced this phenomenon, you know that, somehow, the same message continues to reappear in your life – perhaps in different guises, from different people and different situations – and that this message will continue to pursue you until you consent to listen and act.”
~Well, amen to that! I’ve lived it. I’ve less graciously referred to it as the Universe’s Way of trying not to hit you upside the head with a two-by-four! Personally, I’m tired of getting hit upside the head. I’m still learning to see the signs sooner that a change in my life is needed. I’m getting better but it’s a work in process. I do know that I’m better with the concept that change shouldn’t be assumed to always be bad. In fact, even if first assessed as negative, I’ve found given time that I see more positives resulted.
~To close out, I’m going to review what Mr. Lurie points out as lessons from this innocent children’s book:
1. Don’t give up.
2. When one approach fails, try something new.
3. Stay optimistic.
4. Don’t take rejection personally.
5. Believe in what you are pursuing.
6. Don’t be so resistant to change that you deny yourself something that’s good.
~All great nuggets of life’s lessons and wisdom found in such a simple story.
I keep wanting to try taking a swing at writing about quotes people post and how I respond to them. I see these great quotes every day on other people’s blogs or Facebook pages. Depending on my mood or frame of mind, a quote can strike me about something I’m presently going through, have gone through or how I want my future self to approach my surroundings.
Late one night I googled the phrase, “quote images”. I not only like to search for quotes that mean something to me but how they are presented visually. (There’s nothing like a great quote being ruined by a lousy or hokey picture.) My search yielded a multitude of quotes for me to review. Memo to self, I now have a treatment to help me counteract insomnia or further worsen my eyesight. You pick.
The quote included here today “If you want to find a path with no obstacles, it probably won’t lead you anywhere” made the cut from last nights’ collection. It stood out because I hate the use of “no obstacles”. Tossing my grammar police ticket book aside for an obvious infraction, I proceeded to read the whole quote. Well, isn’t this just a nugget of life wrapped up into one sentence.
I know that I would love to have a life path that is easy, without problems, issues, walls, you get the picture. Show me a person who doesn’t and I’m going to cry, “bullshit”! And yes, I do believe there are actual paths in life that are obstacle free and lead to some great vistas. There are also times in life that a person can choose to take an easy path of least resistance thinking, “Ah ha! This is great!” only to realize somewhere later on that the easy path ended up selling them short. Worse, it resulted in having to do the whole dang thing over again. It’s happened to me several times. I’ll admit it.
I’ve taken that easy route sometimes to save me skin, not have to listen to other people’s comments anymore or because, in actuality, I was scared. All of the times I’ve chosen the road that wasn’t so rosy I ended up having to swallow my fear. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Did it anyway. What has been the result of this? Right now the harder paths are providing better results.
Quote Attributed to Frank A. Clark: Image
Today’s post will conclude a three part series that has centered on lessons I learned from my patients during the early years of my career as a speech pathologist. The first story recalled my centurion cowboy teaching me a new awareness of how to view the elderly and their capacity to still learn and be vibrant regardless the number of years on their medical chart. Next, I introduced you to the Caldwells and how true love can and does exist even after a partner dies. Today, I will introduce you to Saul, a delightful man with a wicked sense of humor and a great way of looking at the opportunities in life.
I was a graduate intern at a local small speech therapy practice in 1992-1993. My education during this internship was to gather experience in several healthcare settings providing speech rehabilitation services. I met Saul while shadowing my mentor. He was to be my first ever experience with a home health patient. That was over 22 years ago and his unique personality has stuck in my memory.
Saul had been referred to the practice by his home health agency since he had recently had a mild stroke. I noted that Saul’s age on his chart was in his late 80s. I pictured a very old stooped over man maybe unable to walk well even before his stroke. I was wondering what “mild stroke” would mean for his speech. My preconceived viewpoint was about to be shattered in many ways.
Saul was indeed well into his 80s. He truly must have had a mild stroke because it was no problem for him to come answer the door of his trailer home. I recall his house being full of old antique furniture and a beautiful upright piano against one wall. That piano was to become a nice therapy tool for us to use during his sessions. Saul had very mild speech and voice deficits. I really wouldn’t have been able to tell there was any thing going on with him but Saul insisted that he was having delays in his speaking and that his “voice sounded off”. It was very mild word finding and prosody deficites. I truly had zero formal structured types of treatment to use with him during our sessions. My mentor suggested that we use regular conversational topics building up in length to work on these areas.
Stumped, Saul suggested to me that he had several jokes he liked to tell people. He could pinpoint what felt different telling them now vs. before the stroke. I said, “why not.” I still remember several of those jokes today. They seemed to have been from the Vaudeville era. Maybe I’ll tell you one at the end if you promise not to get upset at what may now be considered politically incorrect. So therapy did indeed center around getting Saul to speak and use his voice and vocabulary as much as possible. When he ran out of jokes, he would sing at the piano. He would also share stories about his life. Storytelling with phrasing and pausing for effect is actually a great exercise to use in speech therapy. He was a natural storyteller.
Saul had had some kind of a life. He had seen and lived through a whole heck of a lot. It is what laid the foundation for his view of and approach to life. He had lived in the New York City area for a large chunk before moving to Florida to retire. He used to joke that he obviously wasn’t good at reading maps because he ended up in the Tampa Bay Area, not Miami like “all good Jews are supposed to.” But then Saul had a streak of not doing what was expected of him. Two of his unorthodox choices in his later years are what have stayed with me, especially as I continue to age myself.
Saul was a ladies man! I don’t know if that was the case when he was younger but it was for him now. He had met his current, Lady Friend, when he was just entering his 80s. He admitted to picking her up in the local mall while she waited in line at the Food Court. He had zeroed in on her seeing that she was a “looker” and young too, say 65. Saul went right up to her, introduced himself, and told her not to eat the crap she was about to order. Instead she should meet him down the road at Lola’s Diner for some real food. Much to my amazement, Saul said it worked like a charm. She met him for lunch and they’d been together ever since. I teased him that he had “robbed the cradle”. He had me in stitches explaining to me that just because he was older didn’t mean his eye for a quality lady had glaucoma too. He also asked me to take a look at all the 90 year old ladies around him. Did I think any could keep up with him never mind be lookers? Hate to say it but just keeping up with him would have put many younger ladies out of the race. Speaking of racing…
It turns out Saul was a marathoner. He had taken up running in his 60s because he had retired and he was “bored”. He also used it as a way to pick up the ladies after his wife been gone for awhile (shocker, huh). I couldn’t believe “someone SO old” would, never mind could, just start running. Yet Saul took to it like a fish to water, he would add. He competed in marathons up until he was 83. When asked why he stopped, Saul revealed that he had had an earlier mild stroke. The doctor had told him to stop running. Saul missed running. He missed the feeling of strength and control over his body, even for being “an old goat”!
The main point I carry with me all these years from these two stories is that Saul didn’t allow conventional thought and the idea of his own or societies “can’t” to get in his way. He wanted to still find love and affection as an old man. To heck with “robbing the cradle” or believing he was too old to find love, he went out and used a very gutsy pick-up line and landed himself a “looker”. I’d like to see younger men come up with an approach as good as his! People would think he was crazy for deciding to start running, let alone marathons, in his 60s. But he did anyway for almost 20 years. That’s a darn good streak!
“Can’t” was unwelcome in Saul’s vocabulary. It has been one of the best examples ever given to me, especially as I’ve gotten older and had to battle or overcome some of my own life challenges. When I thought about returning to graduate school in my 40s, completely selling off my house and quitting my job to move – I fought against a mountain of “can’ts”. When I took up running to help control some nasty health symptoms, I didn’t let knee problems stop me. I adapted and I ignored the “can’t”. I feel better and stronger for it. I’m fighting all the negativity right now that comes with being laid off and unemployed. Yet I know I can find a job that doesn’t make me want to slit my wrists and allows me to sleep with a good conscience at night. I have finally followed my dream to start the Sofia- Wisdom of the Ages project despite the interesting looks I get from some people at times. Every time I want to cower and give in to the “can’t” I now know I can. The path of “can do” has been partially paved by a little old man I once met long ago named Saul.
You see Saul couldn’t give in to the “can’t”. He wouldn’t allow it because he was living not only for himself but those no longer with him. Saul had survived Hitler and his camps.
So, Saul would be upset if I didn’t retell one of his jokes he taught me. Hmm, let me tell you this one since it’s pretty tame. There was this woman who wanted her portrait painted by a very famous painter in New York. She met with the man for her first sitting. She was dressed to the hilt but not one piece of jewlery. The artist thought it odd when the lady instructed him to paint in a necklace with a HUGE diamond on it. “Like a the size of a hubcap, huge”, she told him. The artist shrugged and agreed. Next session the lady had an additional request that he add big saucer sized diamond earrings. He decided to say nothing and just do what she asked so he could get paid. It was her last sitting after all. Well, several days later he got a call from the pesky lady. This time she requested that he add an enormous ruby ring onto one of her fingers. It had to be extremely large and radiate high class. Finally frustrated and absolutely curious by this time, the artist asked why the woman was making all these addition of jewels that she didn’t have. And this was her reply:
“Because when I die and he goes to marry again right away, I want that chippy to wonder where the Hell all those jewel are and why the cheap bastard hasn’t given them to her!” I wish Saul was here to tell you. He always did the voices better than me.
Image Copywrite: Xplore, Inc (2012)
(Michelle, Calla and myself – Pre-race dinner Space Coast Marathon 12/2013)
I first became aware of a force of nature called Calla Morris Hess (aka Miss Sassy) during 2013. Both members of a new international online running group called Moon Joggers, I’d read her posts and think what a welcoming woman with the most outrageous pink hair! How did she get away with having hair that color? To be quite honest, I was jealous she had the spunk to choose it and wear it with confidence regardless of people’s initial reactions. Because once you got past that initial meeting of Calla, you were hooked! There is SO much more to Calla than a first impression.
Calla is a greeter at the Church of Life. You know those volunteers that welcome parishioners before the service, make you feel part of the family. Calla is a greeter but she works on a larger scale. Nobody asked her to volunteer; she just does. She has a smile ready for anyone and everyone. An arm is always ready to wrap around a friend. Doesn’t matter if you just met her. You’re a friend now. She has acted as an unofficial welcome wagon for Moon Joggers since the beginning. See her at a local race and she’s ready with a wave and a “Hi!” She’s a marathoner; knows how to take the pain and keep forging along. She is a woman of strong faith and draws on this faith to make her way through life, come what may. She walks her walk, glad for you to come along if you’d like. Because of her graciousness to all, she is beloved. It is because of her love that her international family now rally for her.
Ever get a message that brings you to your knees? Calla’s family got such a message on the weekend of September 7, 2014. Dave, her husband, posted on Facebook that Calla had suffered a major head injury. She had undergone emergency surgery, was in a coma and on a ventilator. You could hear the air go out of the room. What! Not Calla! How could this whirlwind be confined to a bed and unable to breathe independently? But she was. What happened next is a demonstration how community combined with inner strength and faith can make wonderful things happen.
I’ve never witnessed such an outpouring of support and love for a person before Calla had her horrible accident. Messages flooded in from all corners of the world. Pictures of people running in pink: clothes, wigs and newly dyed hair are posted regularly. We all run for her until she can once again. All that positive energy focused and sent her way with one aim – that she recovers. Calla has been working the miracles for all it’s worth. She was out of her coma and off the ventilator within a few days, not a week or more, days. She has started to speak a little. Her success rolling in bed has progressed to supported steps. Regular updates have contained progress and inspiration to soften even the most hardened of hearts. Even if you’re not religious or spiritual, something is working with Calla to show the impossible is possible. She is determined and she is giving her recovery all it’s worth. She is grace, faith and will. She will rise to run another day with the 1000s of her world family there to cheer her. She is a force of nature to be reckoned with gladly.
Initial progress has come in leaps and bounds. However, Calla’s family and support community are realistic that there is still a long road ahead for her. If by some chance you get taken in by this amazing spirit and would like to help, please visit her support page. Even just sharing her story or encouraging comments will add to her recovery.
Today is a fury of last minute prep, brainstorming questions and actually writing them down, not keeping them in my head. Later tonight will be my first official recording of an interview for my Sofia-Wisdom of the Ages project. Since my subject is in Ohio and I’m in Florida, the wonder’s of technology are being attempted to pull this interview off, hopefully without a hitch.
I’m looking forward to hearing about the life experiences of this woman as a young adult during the 1960s. What was her experience not only as a woman during the Equal Rights movement but also as an African American in the Northern States during the Civil Rights movement? So much changed during this time. Did it affect how she raised her family? Now 40 years after the Civil Rights Act, what are her thoughts, opinions, experiences? What are her insights, lessons that she wants to share with the younger generations in her family? What does she still want to accomplish?
Stay tuned for the video and some future posts discussing what occurred and what Impressions I took away from it. I’m thinking she will have a lot of interesting information to for me to digest. I look forward to sharing it.
Have you ever witnessed a love so strong that one couldn’t fully exist without the other? I have. It is sad yet beautiful at the same time. Let me tell you about one couple that have stayed etched in my memory and keep me believing that true love can exist.
It was back in 2006 when I met the Caldwells. Bill and Barbara were by this time living in the nursing home section of a continuing care retirement community or CCRC. Both of their health declining sufficiently and quickly enough that they had had to move out of their independent home. I was new to the community having just begun working as a speech pathologist for the assisted living and nursing home sections. I was first assigned to work with Barbara.
Barbara was slight, birdlike. So skinny I could wrap my thumb and pinky around her wrist and have tons of space. What she lacked in physical size she made up for in her strong personality. One of the areas I worked with her on was her swallowing. Barbara was a pistol. Brash at times. She pretty much did what she wanted but in a very polite, congenial manner so you ended up overlooking it. I think she learned that trick from her husband. She frustrated the living daylights out of me. I could not get her to follow any of her safety instructions, her exercises, never mind – get her to eat. I needed her to eat but she just wouldn’t or not enough. Her health was failing as she weakened from malnutrition and failure to thrive.
She had a New York accent but I later found out she was born in 1923 in Illinois. She had worked as a model in New York in her early twenties. Hence the history and possible cause of her not eating sufficiently. I was told that she met Bill while working on a modeling job. They’d married soon after he’d returned from serving in World War II. Proud they were as opposite as one could get but they fell in love just the same. They were inseparable prior to coming to the nursing home and every day you would hear her calling out for her Bill as she waited in the TV parlor for his return from physical therapy. Her calling for him sometimes aggravated the staff, truth be told. Personally, it was because you couldn’t console her or convince her that she’d be OK. Bill would be coming back, soon. It’s a hard thing when you can’t stop someone from feeling lonely or hurting. It’s a hard thing when you’re trying everything you’ve got but the person is still getting worse. The annoyance and upset more from feeling incapable. But I also believe Barbara was feeling some of this too. During those moments all she wanted was Bill to make her life solid and familiar again and he wasn’t around. She couldn’t get to him, independently. We were keeping him from her. We didn’t know how little time she had left with him. May be she did. Barbara died peacefully in her sleep with her Bill nearby in their room in August of 2006. They had been married 60 years.
Bill was an opposite to his wife Barbara. He had yellow still strewn through his white hair. She had salt and peppered hair. She could be brash. He was like honey in voice and demeanor. He could charm us all; the male version of a Georgia peach. I would always tease him that way. Bill had been born in Marietta in 1918. He used to tell grand stories of serving in World War II. Initially, he’d been refused by the United States for service. He said because he was too young. So he served in the Dutch Air Force before finally being transferred to the Army Air Corp. Bill also served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. The service had played a significant role in his life before he came home to a civilian occupation. I got to hear so many great stories from him about this time because after Barbara died, Bill’s health started failing again. He’d had a mild stroke. We were working on his language, memory and his swallowing. Yes, his swallowing.
Like a deja vu, I couldn’t get Bill to do anything I asked to keep him safe while eating. He’d tried to get his family to sneak him in steak. He wouldn’t take in enough fluids so in the end I had to bribe him on a daily basis to drink and do his therapeutic exercises with me. He’d tell you’ he’d do it then go right about not doing so. Then he’d give you the biggest, sweetest smile and tell you he was sorry. He just couldn’t help himself; Georgia peach dripping with Southern hospitality.
He had told me stories of having to be up all night during WW II, waiting for the air raid sirens to go off. As a result he had developed an addiction to coffee. The blacker like oil the better. No sugar or fluff. You didn’t have time for that when the siren could go off at any moment. You learned how to just drink it and drink it fast, regardless if it burnt your throat on the way down. I used pots of strong black coffee, donuts and a lot of reminiscing to try to get Mr. Caldwell better over several months. I finally had to discharge him from therapy when I couldn’t break a plateau. But that didn’t mean I didn’t keep an eye out for him.
I would always stop to talk with Bill, passing in the hall, seeing him in the therapy gym or spending some time in the room he shared with another gentleman I had as a patient. We’d joke. I’d let him retell his stories. But soon I got a feeling he was starting to lose his spirit. He started saying he was missing his Barbara. Myself and the staff would try to console him. Tell him Barbara wouldn’t want him to be sad; that she was still with him in spirit. It didn’t work. Orders for psychological services really didn’t work. Bill told me one day he not only saw Barbara in his dreams at night but he was starting to see her in his room and the hallways during the day. She was telling him it was time for him to come get her. I’d been working with the elderly for 12 years by that time. When I heard something like this, I knew the end was getting near. After another downturn in his health, Bill admitted to me, “I’m dying of a broken heart.”
I went and told the charge nurse about what Bill had said. We shared that knowing look between each other. Extra supervision and support were given to Bill for the next few days but he continued to get worse. His family wanted to know what more we could do. They weren’t listening. After observing him having a not so great day, the charge nurse told me to go sit with him and spend some time. She had a feeling. I did. I held his hand and kidded that he and Barbara had been pains sometimes but that they made me smile and laugh. He smiled and eventually drifted off to sleep. His roommate’s wife said she was planning on staying in the room that night. I thanked her for being kind to do that then I left for the day.
The hall nurse and charge nurse stayed that night too. Furiously, they called family members telling them to get in right away. Their father was asking for them. He was saying he wanted to go that night. Finally they came and had some one on one with their dad. But they left believing he’d be there in the morning. The nurses stayed in or near the room. The wife of his roommate later told me she moved bedside so she could hold his hand. She knew from his breathing he was going. She told me about his last moments as she held his hand. Bill had opened his eyes and asked where his children were. She told them they’d gone home. He was alright with that, having said good bye. He then turned to look at a corner in the room. He told her that Barbara was there. Barbara was getting impatient with him and needed him to come to her. He laughed a little about her being impatient. He told his companion he thought it was time. It hurt too much to be apart. “I’m going to go now. Please hold my hand until I do?” She did. Bill went peacefully soon after. He died 5 months after his Barbara.
I’ve mentioned before that many patients have remained part of my memory over these 21 years. They’ve taught me some immediate lessons as in my first story in this trilogy, the 100+ Cowboy. Others have taught me lessons that were both immediate yet took me awhile to fully understand and appreciate. The Caldwells’ story has done that. I thought true love was elusive and just a romance novel gimmick. It has been for me in my life. But watching the Caldwells in their last months on this earth together then apart showed me just how strong and amazing a true love can be. I know it can exist and continue to grow. I also know how rare it can be. If it happens in your life hold onto it and keep it precious. I’m still waiting but a part of me knows it can happen because of couples like Bill and Barbara. When it does, I hope I’ve learned enough from their example to grab onto it and never let go.
Photo Credit: Love This Pic