I recently spent time with a husband whose wife of 32 years was a patient.  She had been his long-term partner and best friend for the better part of his life.  Over the eight days that his wife was at hospice, he spent every possible waking minute tenderly caring for her every need even though she was unable able to communicate directly with him.  But communicate she did through his sharing of tales of their life together – of the joys and the challenges they faced – living their lives.  

I asked him what gave his wife joy.  I heard wonderful stories of her volunteering every Saturday with the homeless, of being the “Mom-taxi” for their children and now their grandchildren, of her insisting that everyone vote.  She was a woman "on a mission."

The last time I saw him, he told that my question about “her joy” deeply touched him.  It reminded him of what he knew all along, that his wife was her “best self” when she was of service to others.  I think that might be one of the secrets of life.


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