Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Life Happens and Not When We Are Necessarily Prepared for It


By Marcie Droll-Durian

From the time we are children, we have a path that we think our life will take. We have hopes, dreams, and expectations. My path was to go to college, become a teacher, get married, have children, have my children grow and marry and have their own children, and so on. My path was different than I planned. I quit college initially due to financial factors. I worked in a factory, got married, had a baby, and then became a widow at 26 years old. I went back to college with a two-year-old, graduated at 30 years old with a degree as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, and worked my way into a management position as a single mom for the next 10 years. I became remarried to a wonderful man, went back to college to receive my BA at 40, and never had more human children, just three adopted rescue dogs — which I have come to the conclusion are more work than children, although I love them like I love my daughter. I have a wonderful life, and although it did not go as I planned, I am so blessed as, through it all, I have had my health.

I have worked in the healthcare industry for many years and cannot even count how many folks I have encountered who have dealt with health struggles and disease — and not when it was convenient for them (as if it is ever). Just yesterday when participating in a educational conference for caregivers, I met four different caregivers who were still in their working years, and were taking care of a spouse full time as well. One man was not even old enough to retire yet and had been a caregiver to his wife for the last 14 years. She had had a stroke just when they were entering their empty-nest years, when they could start to travel a bit, when they had become established in their careers and had put their kids through college, and now that it was their time as a couple — life happened. Dreams were shattered. They could not travel. They lost many social contacts because folks did not know how to react to his wife as she could not speak clearly and was difficult to understand. He had to change jobs to get more flexibility to care for his wife as they could not afford any help. This also meant a pay cut when they needed income more then ever, especially after his wife could no longer work and was eventually receiving disability. This was a huge pay cut for her. I could tell the strain that was on this man, but the other thing that was very evident is that he took his marriage vows to heart: for better, for worse, in sickness, and in health. He didn’t complain. He didn’t ask for sympathy, and his words were just that, as a caregiver, he was always trying to gain more tools to give his wife the best that he could, as she would do the same if tables were turned. I thought to myself, what a saint this man is. As I went through my evening of watering the flowers as my husband mowed, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I treasure these evenings with my spouse and how incredibly blessed we are to be able to do these simple tasks together. One never knows when life could happen.

LivWell Seniors serves as a local agency providing community-bases resources that are 100-percent free to seniors and their families. They are funded by the senior care providers that utilize their service and network of connections. For further information, contact us at 563-265-1577, or visit our website at www.livwellseniors.com.