Welcome to The Purple Jacket!
The Purple Jacket is a blog about the real-life story of the late Bernard Richard Schiffer and Chris MacLellan. Faced with my partner’s diagnosis of esophageal cancer in 2011, I started The Purple Jacket as a way to share our Caregiving journey. Along the way, we have met thousands of people from all over the world while coining a nick name for Richard, “TLO”…meaning The Little One, Richard stood a foot shorter than me! Now that the caregiving journey has ended, I am writing about Life After Caregiving while continuing to be an ardent advocate for Caregivers and their caree’s all over the world.
The Purple Jacket focuses on living life in a calm and peaceful way. It is through story telling where not only do we find comfort, we bring comfort to others as well. . The conversations will often include discussion of our personal networks of family and friends. Our conversations will often be about developing long-lasting relationships based on honesty, sincerity and personal integrity.
In The Purple Jacket, we will talk about the role of the caregiver in maintaining the independence, dignity and quality of life for their caree and just as important, for themselves, too! We will discuss how the caregiver can be a more effective advocate and we will deliver information that every Senior, caregiver and family needs to know when discussing these issues.
Just a little bit about me:
Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, I am is the youngest of six children: I am proud to be the ‘F.U.’ (aka: Favorite Uncle) to 24 nieces and nephews and over 40 great nieces and nephews! (That number is still growing!)
I have a diverse background in Social Work, Ministry, Senior Care, Arts Management and Professional Sports. I earned a Bachelors Degree in Child Family and Community Service from Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois, Springfield) in Springfield, Illinois and have earned a Masters Degree in Leadership and Communication from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. I am proud of my six years in the seminary and have studied Theology at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. I have always enjoyed the dialogue that comes with higher education and I am currently studying Leadership and Communication at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. My thesis will be centered around Caregiver/Caregiving stress.
My passion centers around advocacy in all the things that I do. When we are entrusted to the care of others, there is no better honor. Leaders do not seek responsibility, leaders are drawn to responsibility when they realize how their talents, skills and abilities can make a difference.
I am a proponent of a holistic approach to good health and spirituality. Theologically trained, I view religion and spirituality as separate. Church communities are healthy when they promote diversity, dignity and acceptance. Down to earth and pragmatic, I am able to see different viewpoints, work within a consensus while building bridges instead of roadblocks.
You might ask why The Purple Jacket? The Purple Jacket is my own personal caregiving symbol. I do own a purple jacket, however, I cannot fit into my purple jacket any longer. I attribute this to the stress of being a caregiver and not learning how to take better care of myself. My goal now in July of 2016 is to Bring On Wellness (#BOW) and take better care of my own personal health and well-being.
The Purple Jacket is a blog dedicated to the estimated 44 million family Caregiver and their Caree’s in the United States. Through the real life Caregiving story of Chris MacLellan and Bernard Richard Schiffer, The Purple Jacket’s goal is to educate, to identify, to foster awareness, and to be proactive in finding solutions to metal, physical, financial and spiritual health facing Caregivers and their Caree’s on a daily basis. Because in sickness and in health; love, care and commitment are the same for any two people joined together as one.