Pulitzer Prize Nomination: A Posthumous Birthday Gift


Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. Oscar Wilde

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Photo Credit: Carline Jean Photographer for the Sun-Sentinel

Today, January 24, would have been Richard’s eighty-fourth birthday. Last year we celebrated with a small group of friends at one of our favorite stopping grounds, D’Angelo’s, in Fort Lauderdale; it was a fun-filled evening that everyone will always remember.  One of my favorite photos from our story, ‘In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey was snapped at D’Angelo’s last year.  Anticipating those delicious Petit Fours, you see us both peering into the box, as if we are playing a game of peek-a-boo.  While I forget how many Petit Fours were in the box, I do remember that by the next morning, the box was empty!

This week comes the word that our story, ‘In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey’ has been nominated by the Sun-Sentinel for Pulitzer Prize consideration.  I think it is fitting that I share this information with you today on what would have been Richard’s eighty-fourth birthday.  Both modest, yet very accomplished, Sun-Sentinel journalist Diane Lade and photojournalist Carline Jean told our story in a very loving way that has touched over 400,000 people worldwide.  I am thankful because the story has provided me with a very special memory that will last a lifetime.

Those who knew Richard knew him to be a private person.  For him to agree to do the story was his gift of love, care, and commitment to me.  I return it two-fold.  I am reminded of some sage advice that I have received along the way since Richard’s life transition: ‘The feeling of missing him will get softer, but the love you shared will always be strong.’  I think of these words of wisdom quite often, especially today on his birthday with this special news, reminds me how strong love can be in one’s life.

My faith tells me that I will see him again; my mind tells me that he is forever pain-free; my heart tells me that he is right next to me.

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Superstars: Diane Lade and Carline Jean

I thank Diane Lade and Carline Jean for telling our story through the lens of love, care and commitment as that was the true story of our life together.  In my book, they have already won; they also won Richard’s heart along the way, too.  For without their demonstration of professionalism, along with the love, care, and commitment they showed to us on this journey, Richard never would have felt comfortable, especially over the last few months,  to continue with the story as the cancer took over his body.

Richard said to me just a few weeks before he made his life transition, “Diane and Carline are going to have quite an end to their story.”  That Sunday afternoon on March 9, 2014 when Richard made his life transition, he waited for Diane and Carline to arrive in order to say his goodbye to two people who he allowed into his heart.  Richard let very few people into his life, and in his way, by this very deserving nomination, Richard’s love, care, and commitment, continues to give back to the people he loved, cared and trusted the most.

Congratulations to Diane, Carline and the entire Sun-Sentinel Staff who worked on this project.

Diane Lade and Carline Jean will always have a special place in my heart.

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Filed under Esophagus Cancer, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors

Answers for Elders on Healing Ties Radio


Join us on Wednesday, January 28th  at 7 pm EST on HealthCafeLive.com as we welcome   Suzanne Perkins-Newman and Diane Rossow from Answers for Elders.  Finding trusted resources can be one of the most difficult components a family Caregiver faces on a daily basis.  But what if there was one website that could connected you to trusted professionals that was developed by a family caregiver,  for the family caregiver?  That website is already here! Answers for Elders.com is all about empowering family Caregivers, and is the ultimate source for navigating senior care to help family Caregivers manage their day!  Listen in and learn how  Answers for Elders.com is creating ‘Healing Ties’ all around us!

To listen live on Health Cafe LIVE.com simply click here!

Can’t listen live?  NO WORRIES!!!  Healing Ties is available on demand on our iHeart Radio channel by clicking here! Healing_Ties_Jan28_2015

 

 

 

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Life AFTER Caregiving


 

 

 

Join us on Wednesday, January 21st at 7 pm EST on HealthCafeLive.com as we welcome back, by popular demand, Adrienne Gruberg from The Caregiver Space! Let’s face it, life AFTER caregiving is an adjustment. Not only are their legal issues to consider, there is also the task of getting back to life, a life that is different from what we once knew. On Wednesday, Adrienne and I will share our experience of adjusting to live AFTER Caregiving; the grieving process,  reentering life and beginning again. This will be an upbeat conversation with tools you can use in order to create Healing Ties all around you!

To listen LIVE at 7:00 pm click here!

Cannot listen live?  NO WORRIES!  Healing Ties is available ON DEMAND on our iHeart Radio Channel by clicking here!

 

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52 Years And Still Going Strong!


Join us on Wednesday January 14th  at 7 pm EST on HealthCafeLive.com for an enlightening  conversation with Bob Collier and Chuck Hunziker.  What is so special about Bob and Chuck…EVERYTHING!  Bob and Chuck are both veterans, pillars in their community and they just happen to be a couple celebrating 52 years together!  Both in their 80’s, Bob and Chuck, never meant to be activists or plaintiffs in a lawsuit that would change Florida law, they just   happen to be two people who want the world to be a better place for all of us to live. This is a couple who is creating ‘Healing Ties’ all around us!

Can’t listen live on Wednesday?  NO Worries!  Healing Ties radio is available on demand on iHeartRadio/HealingTies by clicking here!

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It Is All About Family


Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.  Michael J. Fox

Healing Ties Radio show kicks off our first show of the year on Wednesday evening with a conversation about Family.  We will visit with all five of my siblings and their spouses and we talk about parenting, grand kids and most importantly, bonds that we create and show with our family and friends, especially as we age.  We will be debuting our new feature, ‘The Motivational Minute with Judy Ryan from Life Work Systems and of course, our Healing Ties Juke Box will be playing a special tune half way through the show!

To listen to the show live at 7:00 pm on Health Cafe LIVE, simply click here! 

Cannot listen live? NO WORRIES…All of our shows are available ON DEMAND on our Healing Ties iHeart Channel by simply clicking here! 

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It Would Have Been Awesome: But It Was!


“It Would Be Awesome To Get Married, Even If For One Day, Because It Would Solidify What We Already Know ” ~ Chris MacLellan November 2013

weddingringsWhen the clock struck 12:00 am on Tuesday, January 6th in the State of Florida, same-sex marriage became the law of this fine state: Hooray I said! Of course there will be people appalled by this decision to grant equal rights under the protection of marriage; bully to them! I wonder about those who ‘worry’ about granting equal rights to same-sex couples through marriage?  Do they need a ‘piece of paper’ to signify their love? We’ve heard the religious arguments, the family values arguments, heck, even heard that world might end if same-sex marriage became law. Last time I looked outside, the ground was still standing firm in this fine state of Florida.

Same sex couples have known for a zillion years that we do not need a ‘piece of paper’ to solidify our love; however that ‘piece of paper’ does solidify our equal rights.   Bigotry and hatred, unfortunately, will always be  around us, yet that ‘piece of paper’ provides clear protection  to all couples who have been together, one day, or 50+ years.  When you look closely into the laws, both federal and state, and see how laws are granted to those who are married, this ‘argument’  of  marriage equality comes into perspective.   As Americans, we do not often like to talk about death and dying, but all the rights granted by marriage are intertwined at the time of death.   Did you know that in every state of the nation that the next of kin for an adult is a spouse! Until you’ve been denied the right to be with the one that you love at the time of death, or asked, ‘Who Are You’ by medical staff, or have been told, ‘your not next of kin’ after your partner hasThe Bow Tie Guys passed away, you never fully grasp the inequality.

Yes, this day is bitter-sweet for me: I’m sure I am not alone.  Richard and I talked about getting married, and it would have been an awesome thing to do!   I can’t imagine us getting married would have deepened our love, it just would have solidified what was already known! Yet I do hope our Caregiving story, In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey and what happened to us along the way as an unmarried couple,  helped pave the way for this historic day in Florida.   In some small way, I am sure that it did! 

Yes, it would have been awesome to get married, but our life was awesome together, without that ‘piece of paper! It would have been awesome to gather our  family and friends together for a ceremony, but heck, they all knew that we loved each other, that we were committed to each other, without that ‘piece of paper.’  As one of my sisters said to me today, “Heck, you two were everything to each hands touchginother, but married.” She was so right, because, in the end, the only thing that matters is that love, care and commitment is the same for any two people who are committed to each other as one.  Our ‘piece of paper’ was imprinted in our hearts.

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Filed under Caregiving, In Sickness and In Health, LGBT, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, Marriage Equlity

Washing Away 2014 With One Last Toast


When love is at its best, one loves so much that he cannot forget.  Helen Hunt Jackson

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New Years Eve Toast 2013. Photo Credit: Carline Jean Sun-Sentinel

Last week during the Christmas holiday, we took a drive down memory lane and visited all the beautiful lights on Ocean Drive in Palm Beach and Broward County.  The outpouring of support from those two blog post is most appreciate.

As we move into the New Year, I do not want to forget about 2014, but I do want to wash it away.  Healing and grieving is different for everyone who has gone through the loss of a loved one.  Grieving would not be hard if love was not involved. Healing would be next to impossible without family and friends like you!

This year, I have decided not to make any new year resolutions, but rather to make some new year commitments.  In 2015, I will commit to taking better care of myself, including my physical, emotional, spiritual and financial self.  There is no secret weapon or path to accomplish this; taking better care of myself is something that is important to my healing process.   Caregivers understand that the last person who gets care, is the Caregiver.  Now, it is time for me to embark on a new caregiving role; caring for myself.

In 2015, I will continue to advocate for Caregivers and their Caree’s through my new radio show, Healing TiesTieHands on Health Cafe Life.com and iHeart Radio.  Our downloadshow on iHeart is listed under the Health section and there are already 10 shows up for you to listen to by simply clicking here!   (Listen in and be sure to click on the heart!)  I will keep blogging on ‘The Purple Jacket’ as this spot is reserved for TLO and all of our friends and followers who have been supportive over WholeCareNetworkthe years.  Early in 2015, I will introduce a new website, Healing Ties which will feature information about the radio show while introducing you to the Whole Care Network.  The new site is still in the development process, but you can take a quick look at the new website by clicking here!  Your feedback and opinion on the new website is most appreciated!  Our new website will highlight the Whole Care Network  which will be a bevy of referrals and references to help you create Healing Ties in your life and in your community.

There are three eBooks in the works and one major book, about our caregiving story, ‘In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey’ is in the works, too. image004Early in 2015 you’ll see posting about group cruises for Caregivers, especially for those Caregivers who have lost a spouse or a partner.  It is time for us to come together in celebration, in care, in commitment and in love, to support and be there for each other. There are some other exciting opportunities that are presenting themselves as we move forward in 2015, I will be sure to keep you in the loop! It is going to be a busy year with workshops and presentations across the country: remember I am making a new year commitment,  not a new year resolution!

IMG_47020763026057 I do not have any fancy words or sage advice today, that’s never been our style here on The Purple Jacket; I simply write from the aspect of love, care and commitment which seems to fit just fine.  As I wash away 2014, I toast you, and thank you for being with us on this journey.  One thing this past year has taught me is to live in the moment: Funny TLO used to tell me that all the time!  So as we bring in the new year, I am thankful for the love that we shared, thankful for the life with TLO, and ready and willing to move forward, just as he wanted me to do.

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“I love the photo that includes your rear view mirror – you brought your past into the present last night.” Denise Brown from Aftergiving.com

I leave you with this wonderful quote  brought to you by my good friend, Denise Brown from Caregiving.com and Aftergiving.com ” I love the photo that includes your rear view mirror–you brought your past into the present last night.” I did not get the symbolism of this picture until Denise pointed it out to me, I am so thankful to Denise for her insight! Why? Because, I never want to forget about the past, yet life moves forward, not back.  Love is what shapes us: Love will never be washed away! 

Blessed and Happy New Year to you and your family! 

 

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Filed under Caregiver Stress, Healing, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples