Shannon here: Inspirational author, Linda Wood Rondeau shares a glimpse into the final years of her parents’ romance plus a chance to win her latest release, Days of Vines and Roses. Comment on any post dated Oct 7 – 10 to get in the drawing. Deadline: Oct 19th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Linda:
The Last Dance
“Poetry in motion,” a friend described my parents as they waltzed to the Anniversary Song during the fiftieth wedding anniversary party. My parents were always graceful dancers and the envy of all their friends. No matter what tumult they’d endured in their long life together, when they hit the dance floor, they seemed in perfect harmony.
My parents’ were more like Frank and Marie from Everybody Loves Raymond than Ozzie and Harriet.
I supposed their arguments as well as their waltzes defined their marriage. Spits and spats followed by times of graceful exhibition.
The biggest test of that love was when they could no longer stay in their home.
After Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, adding to her pre-existing issues with Parkinson’s and an inoperable heart mass, medical professionals advised Mom should go into a nursing home.
“I want to take care of her,” Dad said.
He himself suffered from pulmonary fibrosis and had already outlived most people with his diagnosis. Dad, the pampered husband, had never had to cook a meal let alone wash dishes and clean the house. The idea of him caring for Mom at home seemed an utter impossibility. Yet, I knew he deserved the chance to try.
We put in home care services for Mom. Since my husband and I lived only four miles away, we did what we could. Sometimes the small trailer seemed to add to the confusion surrounding their needs; yet, Dad managed surprising well.
As Dad neared end stages of his disease, he continued to try to take care of Mom, although the evidence mounted he would not be able to do so for much longer. To face his end separated from the woman he loved seemed unimaginable. We put in Hospice for Dad but continued to counsel him about the inevitable nursing home placement.
They managed one more Christmas together in their home. In early January, things came to a dramatic climax when the Hospice volunteer found Dad passed out in the hall and my mother had set a fire on the stove. For many reasons, my parents moving in with us wouldn’t work. Nor could we move in with them. Nursing home placement became our only immediate option. Hospice put Dad into the hospital, and we managed Mom’s care around the clock, praying they would be able to be together.
Nursing homes in our small community were always full. Many elderly had to be placed in facilities fifty miles away. Because of the shortage of available beds when needed, married couples found themselves placed in different facilities.
God answered our prayer, and we were miraculously able to place Mom and Dad together in a nearby home where we could visit daily. Since they had separate bedrooms in their trailer, the nursing home assigned separate rooms. However, they ate meals together and “dated” at the home’s activities.
With improved living situation, quality of life as well as physical endurance improved, at least for a few months. I came into the nursing home one afternoon and saw my parents dancing together. Something they had not been able to do for years. With his oxygen tank hiked up on his shoulder, Dad led my mother in what would be their last waltz. Dad went home to be with Jesus a few weeks later and Mom followed three years afterward.
I’m grateful to God for allowing them this time together, theirs a romance that took them into eternity.
About Linda: Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel The Other Side of Darkness/Harbourlight, LINDA WOOD RONDEAU, writes stories of God’s mercies. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Jacksonville, Florida.
Linda’s best-selling Adirondack Romance, It Really IS a Wonderful Life, is published by Lighthouse of the Carolinas and is available wherever books are sold. Her next releases were her devotional book, I Prayed for Patience God Gave Me Children and Days of Vines and Roses.
These books are also available in ebook format. Rondeau expects three more book-length releases this fall with a novella, A Christmas Prayer/Lighthouse of the Carolinas, and two short contemporaries: Joy Comes to Dinsmore Street/ Helping Hands Press, and Songs in the Valley/ Helping Hands Press.
About the book: When a romance writer and her estranged publisher husband attempt to reconcile, malignant forces and a pending lawsuit seem bent on keeping them apart. After fifteen years of marital disarray, Henry and Sylvia Fitzgibbons (aka Lana Longstreet) independently contemplate divorce, their relationship relegated to Henry’s infrequent visits to the Connecticut estate and their once a week meeting at Chez Phillipe’s in Manhattan.
But, not yet. There is the matter of the decaying rose gardens and the thirtieth anniversary party the children are planning. Reluctantly, Henry moves in for the summer, steeled against the hauntings that torment only him. As reconciliation seems possible, the evil forces within begin to target Sylvia as well. Like the strangling vines within the rose beds, Henry and Sylvia have become victims of spiritual neglect. Their only hope remains in surrender to a power greater than the evil determined to destroy them.
Come back Oct 10 for Linda’s excerpt!