Life after Caregiving : Anniversaries
72 years ago today, Johnny, a young soldier on weekend leave, and Jo, a lovely young woman who had traveled by train from another state, stood before an altar in a church in Mobile, AL, and exchanged wedding vows. They promised to love each other “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health” – and they did.
40 years later, Johnny was diagnosed with cancer that already spread. For five months, he lingered on while the cancer ate away at his body, spreading to his lymph nodes and then to his brain. For five months, his wife and daughters took care of him, loved him, did everything they could for him.
When he died, Jo picked up the pieces of her life, and moved on, making a new life for herself. She was still a vibrant, lovely woman; not so young any more, in her early 60s, but still able to turn heads and charm everyone who met her. There were predictions that she would love again, marry again; that she would not live out the rest of her years alone – but even though several men tried to catch her interest, Jo always said no one else she met ever measured up to her Johnny.
The new life Jo created involved a lot of volunteering, with her church, with fraternal organizations, with the local food bank. Everyone loved her smile, her warmth, her genuinely caring demeanor. As she grew older and began to have her own health issues, she tried to bear them all with grace and dignity – even the things that seemed designed to rob a person of any semblance of dignity.
Living her last three years in an assisted living facility, she quickly became a staff favorite. Always with a smile and kind word for everyone, glad to see anyone who visited, her room was a peaceful little oasis, and many of the aides would stop by each day just to have a quick hello and enjoy the serenity of her presence.
At the end of her life, bearing the pain of severe injuries from a fall, debilitated by a neurological disease and crippled by a stroke, she still tried to show her love for her beloved family, for her friends, and for the loving God she worshipped. When her family went for dinner one night, upon their return, the hospice aide told them that she and Jo had been singing hymns together – specifically, “Old One Hundred”: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow / praise him all creatures here below / praise him above the Heavenly host / praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”
Just before Jo died, her daughter watched as she began slightly lifting her head, making little “kissing” motions, as if greeting someone – several someones, in fact.
Then Jo suddenly raised both arms up, curving them into an embrace with a presence only she could see. Considering that her last fall had left her with a broken collarbone and 10 fractured ribs, this was pretty remarkable. Whether there was anything or anyone there is something no one in this life can know.
But the nurse and Jo’s family remain convinced to this day that she was embracing her beloved Johnny, who had come to welcome and guide her onward. They truly had a love to last through the ages.
Happy Anniversary, Mother and Daddy! I love you.
Do you have a story that you would like to share about your fondest memories of your caregiving journey? How about your life after caregiving?
We would love to hear them.
Please share your stories so that others may know about life after caregiving.
You’re probably not alone–your personal experience could resonate with other readers on this site. Share your stories, ask your questions, rant, rave or stomp your feet!
No profanity or flames please this is a Family Friendly site.
Either way, we’d love to hear from you!
You don’t need to be a professional writer – all you need is the desire to share an experience or ask others for help with a situation or question. I love to hear stories of your family member and your situation .
So, please, share a few pictures of yourself or your family member. If you have made changes to a house to remaining the home longer, those are great photos share as well.
Here are a few things you should know about sharing with Aginginplace.com :
If you are sharing a story, please make it about your caregiving experience, your family member that you are taking care of, or about any situation related to support services (good and bad), difficulties with insurance, concerns about alternative placement , such as a Nursing home or Assisted Living and tips on caregiving. Remember, sharing your experience will help others with similar situations.
When it comes to a question, a little bit of information about your situation would be most helpful. You do not have to follow the amount of content rule.
Here’s what we would not publish: No affiliate or commercial links please, no thinly disguised advertorials, no stories that have been published elsewhere, and no sales pitches for products or businesses. I’ve let a few through in the past – those links will be deleted in the coming weeks so please don’t bother sending any more in.
If you are sharing a story, according to Google rules and article must have between 300-700 words. Less is too short for a page, and longer is just… too long. Don’t forget to provide a link to your personal website or blog so we can link back to you!
Try to include at least one photograph (it really does make a story come alive) but no more than four. Tell us what’s in each picture.
Don’t forget to include your full name and email so I can get back to you if I have any questions.
One more thing:
I’ll do everything I can to publish your story but sometimes I get submissions that simply don’t make the cut – because they don’t follow the guidelines. I can’t reply individually but if your piece doesn’t appear soon after you submit it, chances are it doesn’t meet requirements.
So please, read the above carefully – and hit that keyboard. The rest of us can’t wait to read your post
Do You Have a Great Story About This? Share It!
What Other People Are Saying…
[catlist numberposts=10 post_type=”ask” excerpt_size=30 excerpt=yes posts_morelink=”Read more..”]