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A New Beginning

(Editor’s Note: Bob begins our Community Caregiving Journal by writing about our first three words: Shoulder, Expect, Chimney.)

A lot to shoulder, that’s for sure but easier when you open the door; opening the door to others to help; it’s easier than a silent, isolated, painful inner yelp.  I expect me to do better in my role and I expect you to somehow make it easier.  Twenty-five years of marriage we worked together. Now I miss what we had so much–I couldn’t have done it without you.  You were always somehow stronger, but you would say we’re stronger in different ways.  The chimney of our lives seemed to always have a beautiful serene atmosphere to it.  Now our chimneys burn within with searing pain and sadness how our lives turned upside down.  Things have changed but our spirits don’t have to.  Our human-ness doesn’t have to.  It’s so hard to enjoy our time together since, so often, what follows it is separation and we’re just both caught in the pain of  it.  We still have to find a way.  Easy for me to say.  Thank you for your understanding when I’m wiped out tired.  Or, when I have so many tasks to contend with that can’t wait.  I would be with you all days if I could.  We can lean on each other’s shoulder; expect little miracles while expressing gratitude for what we have.  Inside our chimney can be warm and full of delight.  Let’s begin….Lets begin, love, my bride….Let’s begin…..I love you, me

About Bob

Profile photo of Bob
I am 61 years of age. I am a caregiver to my wife, age 63, who is bed-bound in a long term care facility. She is paraplegic from severe neuropathy from her chest down to her feet. She also has muscle atrophy and has been diagnosed with Parkinsonism. She had 4 back surgeries between August of 2010 and December of 2011 initially because of burning, and numbness in her legs which turned into paralysis of her two legs. The events that took place from her first surgery to now have resulted in the loss of life as we knew it, the loss of our home and so many other losses. It has all been heart-breaking. I wound up on disability from overwhelming stress and depression in May 2012 and have not yet been able to return to work. Both my wife and I are social workers by profession for 40 years, and 38 years respectively. We have always been very close. We have had a lot of ups and downs over the past 2 1/2 years as we struggle to find our new normal. has become like a new home for me and has gotten me through some extremely difficult times and I imagine will continue to do so. Denise Brown, founder/creator of, and its members have created a sacred space where all of us can share the wide gamut of experiences, emotions, etc. that comprise our caregiving experience. is also an oasis of support, education, wisdom, tools, comfort and more,

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  1. Profile photo of ejourneys

    I love this entry, Bob. I love the resilience of it — that in the midst of all you and your wife are going through, you can take what I think of as a side step. Even in great pain, there is still possibility. *Hugs*

  2. Profile photo of Bob

    Thank you so very much EJ. I deeply appreciate what you have said…..Blessings, Bob

  3. Profile photo of

    Hi Bob,
    Thank you for sharing your words and writing, with us. I love your reference to miracles: “to expect little miracles.” It’s those small miracles that truly provide hope, bright enough to keep us going. Thinking of you; so grateful for your example in focussing on what’s truly important.

  4. Profile photo of Bob

    Thanks so much Bette!!!!


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