I had a semi-debilitating strike in December, 1994, and my husband John, who was my sole [and soul] caregiver, died in 2001 .
Following years I had several care-givers, all strangers, who came to my home from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The rest of my hours were spent mostly alone.
Then came July 4, 2004, the day management sponsored a holiday lunch for the year round residents. I think God told me to go because I had become a sort of recluse in the intervening years.
It was after 1:00 p.m. when I finally arrived, the guests were already eating, the doors, which were impossible to open from a sitting position, were closed. I was about to turn away, after deciding I wasn’t supposed to go after all, when a pleasant woman opened the door, invited me in, found me a place to sit, filled my plate, and even sat with me while we ate.
And that’s how I met Linda.
Shortly afterwards, Linda started to visit me every evening, and soon she was seeing that I was in bed. This started a routine we were very comfortable with, and used the time after I retired to catch up with our daytime activities. Then one time in late summer, 2006, Linda came and told me she, her son, and her son’s wife were moving to Alabama. They had a family meeting and decided to invite me. I had only one question and that was “Does the invitation include Jewely [my cat]?” The answer was “That invitation includes your whole family.”
The kids who were building the living quarters, including a handicap apartment for me, were held up by the weather but I was finally on the agenda. The first weekend in February, 2007, saw my belongings packed and we were on our way
My cat and I adapted readily to the change, although the cat spent the first month under the covers on my bed because the rest of the family had dogs. She couldn’t see them, but she could hear them. As for me, I went from living alone to living surrounded by love.
We soon fell into a routine. Linda continued to take care of me and we came together as a family in my sun porch to eat our meals.
We added one more to the family when Linda became a grandmother [again] on June 26, 2007 to Garrett Wade Hay and he soon became the apple of everybody’s eye.
Then in 2008 Jason’s doctor recommended he have neck surgery. He was in so much pain he agreed to the surgery. When he had clearance to return to work the job was no longer available. His wife was already unemployed. Talk commenced about returning to Florida. Talk became action, action became a caravan of about twelve vehicles, all headed for Florida.
We arrived in Florida around the first of May, 2009. Linda and I rented a park model in CLV temporarily while Jason worked on their home. After several weeks the room that was to be mine was ready for paint and in so doing a suspicious clump of former paint that could not be removed by knife was discovered so a sample was sent to a state laboratory. The report came back that the problem was lead paint and it was recommended the house was uninhabitable. Since a bank held the title Jason told them about the lead problem, but they refused to do anything, Jason didn’t want to jeopardize his son’s health, they moved their belongings, and now live with his mother-in-law temporarily until they find a suitable house, preferably with a rent with option to buy.
Meanwhile, Linda and I, expecting to live with Jason and his family, decided to buy a home elsewhere in CLV which we moved into the first of September.
Linda has been busy, making the house into a home for us. It is small but it is in a nice neighborhood. We had a ramp built so I can get out to take a spin on my wheelchair if I am so inclined.
Linda, who has lived in a motor home for 12 years, and I are happy in our new home. It isn’t the Ritz, but we follow the old adage “Happy is the home where the heart is”.
Also we believe the saying on the wall hanging a dear friend gave me in 2001,
“As for our house we will serve the Lord”.
Freda, what a wonderful testimony of love this is! This year, I think will demand great flexibility and faith from us all. On a cold northern NH night, you have warmed my heart and boosted my faith. God bless you and Linda and all your loved ones (Jewely too!).