I first met Mr. Bill G around 1995 when I bought my first home in South Jersey and near his home in the same town. At that time Bill, or as I affectionately call him, “Willie”, was getting around with the aid of a wheelchair, scooter, and walker. I was dating his son Jeff who is now my spouse and I recall watching Willie struggle to keep his independence with daily activities; mostly walking. I also got to meet his devoted wife and caretaker, Barbara, who has been by his side and provided exceptional care over the years as his Multiple Sclerosis (MS) condition worsened.
They say that God never gives any of us more than we can handle, but I sometimes questioned if that was the case with Willie and Barbara G. How can such caring and generous people endure years of handling a chronic disease that has no cure and only a tough road ahead and still stand strong and faithful? Here’s what I’ve learned over the past 20 years after watching the two of them.
Willie was fortunate during his working years to plan well to ensure a comfortable lifestyle for his family even as he was forced to retire at the age of 47. I am always inspired by his positive attitude, patience and endurance while he struggles to get through each day. I never hear him complain about life being unfair or being given a bad break in life. The past few years have been tough with a few hospitalizations and new complications of the disease; however he seems to maintain that fighting edge and hang in there when most of us would rather just give up. I wonder often, how does he cope with this life day after day?
As a daughter-in-law, Barbara welcomed me with open arms and treated me as “family” from the beginning. Barbara amazes me with her energy, devotion to family and friends, and her long tenure of volunteer service. I’ve heard about her many decades of caregiving and am a witness/recipient of her loving care and generosity that she provides to many of us on a regular basis. I question, where is her “break” in life? Maybe the purpose is that caregiving is her legacy and no one can do it better?
Daughter-in-Law of Mr. William G:
Janine G, New Jersey