One Year Later


Love Has No Age; Love Has No Limits; Love Has No Death!

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Photo Credit: Carline Jean Sun-Sentinel

 

The year of ‘firsts’ is coming to an end, so it seems fitting that I publish this post today,  March 9, 2015  at 1:20 pm.  As Diane Lade so eloquently wrote on April 13, 2014 in her Pulitzer Prize nominated story; “Richard loved opera and classical music, and they were lsc_the-mikadolistening to the joyful finale of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado”: The threatened cloud has passed away, and fairly shines the dawning day! What though the night may come too soon, we’ve years and years of afternoon. From his seat at the table, Chris suddenly looked at the hospital bed across the room. Chris saw Richard shrug and turn his head toward him. At 1:20 p.m. on March 9, 2014, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, Bernard Richard Schiffer died.” 1.

Richard loved opera, in fact, I remember him taking me to my first opera, ‘Madam Butterfly’ in 2006.  “This will be a good first opera for you because it is not too heavy.” Of course, the sentimental side of me said upon leaving the theater that evening, “You didn’t tell me it was going to be such a sad ending.”  He just smiled and laughed at me as we walked down the sidewalk for dinner.  It was fitting that we were listening to Opera on that ‘sunny Sunday afternoon’ as Richard spirit was lifted up, pain-free for eternity.

My year of ‘firsts’ has had its ups and downs.  We move on with our heads held high, taking the good days with the bad, the bad days with the good, and all that goes on in-between.  I’m still trying to find my place in my year of ‘firsts.’ Leaving my job at Sun-Serve, spending extended time in New Orléans,  going out on my own with my radio show, Healing Ties on iHeart Radio,   learning the group cruise business, becoming theNational Caregiving Advocate for Answers for Elders . com all of which has proved to be a challenge, but very rewarding too. Yet there is that empty feeling which seems to linger, and never go away.  So many of you, near and far, have been so kind and so supportive.  I find so much comfort from your thoughtfulness.

As I reflect today on my life with Richard, I can sum it up into one sentence…I am lucky to be loved in the way that I am loved by him.  Unlike Madam Butterfly, we did not have a sad ending, just a new beginning, it is the adjustment period that makes this year of ‘firsts’ so difficult at times.  As I have written before, my faith tells me that I will see him again, my mind tells me that he is forever pain-free, and my heart tells me that he is right next to me. Because in the end, just as in the beginning, love is the winner!

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1. Lade, D., & Jean, C. (2014, April 13). In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey. Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved from http://interactive.sun-sentinel.com/lgbt-dying-couple/

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Filed under Caregiving, Life after Death, Unconditional Love

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

Eliminating Limited Beliefs On Aging: Your Second Fifty!


 Eliminating Limiting Beliefs On Aging!

Join us on Wednesday, March 25th at 7 pm EST on HealthCafeLive.com as we welcome author, film producer and public speaker, Frank Moffatt to Healing Ties Radio. Frank is an international best-selling author, motivational speaker, lifestyle coach and founder of the educational community, “Your Second Fifty”  – dedicated to holistically improving the lives of people in their second fifty.   From his #1 International Best Seller – Your Second Fifty ~ Rising Above the Myths of Aging! To his documentary of the same name, Frank is relentless when it comes to assisting those in their second fifty, live their remaining years positively, productively, happy and healthy.

 Listen in and learn how Frank Moffatt is creating Healing Ties all around us!

To listen live at 7:00 pm (EST) simply click here!  to access our show on Health Cafe Live.com.

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

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 Interested in being a guest on the show…Advertising packages? Contact me direct at chris@thepurplejacket.com

 

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Managing Your Caregiving Day


Join us on Wednesday, March 11th at 7 pm EST on HealthCafeLive.com as we welcome Amy Goyer and Toula Wootan to Healing Ties Radio.  Both accomplished Authors, Public Speakers, and recognized as Caregiving experts, Amy and Toula blend their own personal caregiving story with soothing words of wisdom to help us manage our Caregiving day.  On Wednesday’s show, we’ll chat about 5 important priorities and lessons learn to help all Caregivers manager their day. No matter where you are on your Caregiving journey, be it ‘Juggling Work and Caregiving’ or finding those ‘Love Stories and Timeless Tips’, Amy and Toula are two family Caregivers who know the meaning of care.   Listen in and learn how Amy Goyer and Toula Wootan are creating Healing Ties all around us!

 To listen live at 7:00 pm (EST) simply click here! 

Not available to listen live?  NO WORRIES!  All our episode are are available on our Healing Ties iHeart Channel by clicking here! 

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The Eden Alternative: Seven Domains of Well-Being


Join us on Wednesday, March 4th  at 7 pm EST on HealthCafeLive.com as we welcome Lisa Kendall from Crossroads Counseling & Consulting to our show. Our popular culture’s notion of     success seems to focus on how much money we make, how busy we are, and how healthy and slim our bodies feel.  Caring for a loved on who is ill, and coping with life after Caregiving may bring us to a different frame of mind, one where we confront the reality of aging and changing abilities  while seeking to understand the deeper lessons of life and love.  Join Lisa and Chris as we explore The Eden Alternatives seven domains of well-being how you can use them as a guide to greater satisfaction, no matter where you are on your life and Caregiving journey. Lisa Kendall is someone who is creating “Healing Ties” all around us!

To listen live at 7:00 pm simply click here! 

No available to listen live?  NO WORRIES!  Healing Ties is available ON Demand on our iHeart Channel by clicking here! 

 

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Gail Gibson Hunt from the National Alliance for Caregiving on Healing Ties Radio


 

Join us on Wednesday, February  25th at 7 pm EST on HealthCafeLive.com as we welcome the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Alliance for Caregiving, Gail Gibson Hunt, to our show. Established in 1996, the National Alliance for Caregiving is a non-profit coalition of      national organizations focused on improving the lives of family caregivers. As Caregivers, we are often faced with the task of managing our Caree’s health during a variety of stages. But what about managing the Caregivers health and well-being?  Recognized as a national expert on family  caregiving and long-term care,  Gail has a keen understanding of the issues Caregivers and their Caree’s face on a daily basis.  Listen in and learn how Gail and the entire staff at the     National Alliance for Caregiving are creating “Healing Ties” all around us!

 To listen live at 7:00 pm (est) simply click here!

Not available to listen live?  NO WORRIES!  All of our episodes of Healing Ties are available on demand at our iHeart Radio Channel by clicking  here!

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Advocacy Heals U on Healing Ties Radio


Join us for another episode  of ‘Healing Ties’ Radio LIVE on Wednesday February 18th at 7:00 pm (est)  on HealthCareLive.com as we welcome Joni Aldrich and Chris Jerry to our program!

Webster defines advocacy “as the act or process of supporting a cause or purpose.” Both accomplished authors, public speakers and radio show host themselves, Joni and Chris’ story is compelling and heart-felt.  Listen in and learn about their journey to advocacy, their new upcoming book along with  announcing our Advocacy Heals U cruise in September 2015!

Joni and Chris are two people who are creating ‘Healing Ties’ all around us!

To listen live on Wednesday February 18 at 7:00 pm, simply click HERE!

Cannot listen live…NO WORRIES! ‘Healing Ties’ is available on demand on our ‘Healing Ties’ channell on iHeart radio by clicking HERE!

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Joni Aldrich and Chris Jerry

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Forever, My Valentine


Love comes in all shapes, styles and forms.   NEVER let love pass you by!

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Valentines Day 2014

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February 14, 2015 · 8:51 am