Carol and Jim were married for 66 years, and it was a true love story. However, the last 16 years were difficult since Jim suffered from Parkinson’s, and Carol was his primary caregiver. She cared for Jim with constant love during all those years. She says, “Jim was easy to care for. He was always upbeat and funny, and drew people to him. Plus, he had always taken such incredible care of our family, so I just returned the care.”
She says routine was the most important piece of the puzzle. Since she was an occupational therapist, she helped Jim exercise each morning before he got out of bed. Jim was always compliant and came to expect the stretches and the machine that helped him move his arms and feet. Carol also helped him practice writing and used the calendar to show him the passing of time each day.
Carol tried to make each day special. She planned frequent outings for him so he had something to look forward to. They also spent time outside relaxing as they had a lovely lake behind their house. Carol was a fabulous cook and always made special meals along with Jim’s favorite desserts. Another thing that helped was their precious dog, who brought them joy.
She had a wonderful helper during the day, but Carol took over when the aide left. Of course, the nighttime wasn’t easy. One of the issues they faced was that some of his medications gave him hallucinations, but Carol could always console him and bring him back to reality.
She stayed awake until the wee hours of the morning, so she could turn him to prevent bed sores, and she slept on a small sofa near him so that he could have the bed to himself. Simply put, Carol was not a complainer despite all the difficulties they faced. Although caregiving was exhausting, she focused on her love for Jim and worked to remain positive.
Jim and Carol were staunch Catholics and prayed together each night saying the rosary and other prayers. They had an extremely strong faith that God was with them. Their church was an important part of their lives. Their friends at church helped build a shower for Jim on the main floor, since they had a two story home. Their priest was very helpful too.
Carol had a cousin in Dallas, who was very dear to them. Her cousin, George, helped them find a good doctor in Michigan, who specialized in Parkinson’s disease. George found him through the Veterans Association since Jim was a WWII veteran. They made many trips to Dallas, and George and his wife travelled to Michigan. The last time the two couples were together, Jim broke down and cried as if he knew it would be the last time.
Jim passed away two years ago, and Carol, at 90 years of age, is still living in their home and misses him deeply. She still feels fortunate that she was able to care for him for all those years.
- The prayers that they said each evening along with the rosary.
- Jim’s sense of humor – they laughed easily together.
- Their church, including the priest and friends.
- The wonderful aide who was there during the day.
- Their precious dog.
John 13:34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
Help us to remain steadfast in our love and care for others. Let us see Carol as an example of true love. She didn’t complain and always looked at the positive. As we approach Thanksgiving, we see that Carol had the true gift of gratitude for the blessing of Jim. Help us to thank you Lord, even for our trials as You carry them with us.