Category Archives: congestive heart failure

It Took 45 Years in the Making

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Forty five years after Rick and Judy met as teenagers of age 19,

they finally got “hitched.” This couple met, smiled and admired

each other from afar. Judy liked Rick’s warmth and the way he

lit up the room. Rick liked the shyness and quiet eye contact

when he met Judy at a party where she was with girlfriends

watching the boys ‘make fools out of themselves.’

They never dated, danced or spent much time together, but

their friends ‘ran around together.’ Eventually each married

someone else.

When they got together in 2004, Judy had three children, six

grandchildren (like me, I thought when I heard this Cleveland

couple’s story!) Rick had  two children and three grandchildren.

The amazing thing was, Rick says, this would not have gotten

started if Judy heard he was single from that old ‘gang of theirs.’

She called him up on her birthday and said, (with some trepidation)

“How about a date for my birthday?”

Rick was thrilled to reconnect with someone he had admired and

she was also, excited to see this life of the party man grown and

matured. They instantly knew they were going to spend the rest of

their lives together.

She had become a nursing assistant and was still practicing this

in a hospital setting, he was a pipefitter who was starting to feel

the pain of arthritis and like his own “parts were wearing out.”

In just one short year, 2005, Rick got sick. He ended up in the

hospital with a stroke. He had another complication, diabetes.

Judy, being prepared to take early retirement, decided to nurse

Rick ‘back to health.’ He recuperated mainly and they started to

walk for their healthy future. They chose Cleveland “Emerald

Necklace” metroparks. They particularly liked the Nature Center

at Shaker Lakes.

Rick was so discouraged that he felt weaker and when he went into

the hospital the next time, he had congestive heart failure and then,

dialysis.

Their dream had been to bring both their families together and have

a small wedding. Once Crossroads Hospice learned of this wish, they

put it into action, first getting family and friends who visited to get

a complete list of the “old gang” and their addresses.

With promises of every day being a special one, from this day forward,

Judy and Rick exchanged their vows. There were bouquets, boutonnieres,

wedding cake, linens, music, favors and a wedding suit. The men wore

purple shirts under gray suits. Judy’s dress was a lacy beige. It was a time

of reunion, celebration and hopes abounded.

No matter how many or how few their days they have, this was the way

they really wanted to share their final days. The loves of their lives came

later than some but; better late than never!