A Distant Husband Becomes Caretaker in addition to Falls Madly in Love Again

Forty-one years into his marriage, George Shannon became better acquainted using a woman he once took for granted, in addition to fell deeply in love with her.

“Such beautiful blue eyes in addition to a great sense of humor,” Mr. Shannon said. “I loved her more, I respected her more in addition to I wanted to be with her more.”

They met in 1967 at a restaurant inside Pittsburgh area, where they both grew up.

“I was sitting using a friend in addition to when we got up to leave I felt a tug on my sleeve,” he recalled. “When I looked over she handed me a slip of paper with her name in addition to phone number on in which, I guess she liked what she saw.”

Mr. Shannon was not flattering himself in addition to another woman at the expense of his wife, with whom he was married for 48 years, nor was he revealing an extramarital affair.

The woman with the blue eyes in addition to the great sense of humor for whom he had a newfound, deeper respect was in fact his wife, Carol Sue Shannon, who died at age 70 in April 2017, seven years after suffering two strokes in which led to myriad various other physical setbacks in addition to resulted in Mr. Shannon becoming her primary caretaker. in which was an experience in which became in essence a second tug on his sleeve, a chance to rejuvenate a marriage in which he “had not paid much attention to,” he said, for the better part of four decades.

Mr. Shannon, today 73, who retired as a vice president for Northeast sales at a Georgia-based company in which maintained water quality for communities, sounded like a man drowning in sorrow when he talked about the cold, empty years of his marriage before becoming his wife’s caretaker in addition to rediscovering magic.

“Carol never complained about anything or asked for anything, in addition to I took advantage of in which by being selfish in addition to self-centered,” he said, pausing for a painful moment to clear his throat.

“Everything I wanted to do, I did without first asking what she thought about me doing in which,” he said. “I’d say things like ‘Carol, I’m going out to play golf,’ or ‘Carol, I’m going out drinking with some buddies,’ in addition to all she could ever say was ‘in which’s fine.’ She was always deferring to me because in which was always all about me, however if I had to do in which over again, I could certainly balance things a lot better.”

Mr. Shannon said in which before his wife had her first stroke in April 2010 on the final night of a vacation in Cabo, San Lucas, Mexico, they had “a Great relationship, though our love wasn’t real deep.”

A month later she had a second, much more devastating stroke in which drastically affected her speech in addition to balance. She subsequently fell twice, which led to her breaking both hips, requiring surgery in addition to a long rehabilitation. She could suffer yet another fall in which she broke a shoulder, in addition to later had a heart attack in which warranted triple-bypass surgery.

“Through all of those challenges she never lost her spirit, never lost her smile, in addition to never complained,” Mr. Shannon said. “Whenever someone asked how she was feeling, she could simply say to them, ‘I’m fine.’”

When he began the caretaking process, he said he “began worrying less about me in addition to more about her.” Mr. Shannon in addition to his wife began growing closer in addition to their feelings for each various other intensified “until in which got to the point where we were madly in love again,” he said. “I felt humility for the very first time in my life, my heart in addition to soul opened up, in addition to I could just feel in which the special connection we once had was back again.”

Lara E. Fielding is usually an adjunct professor of psychology at Pepperdine University in addition to a psychologist in private practice in Beverly Hills who specializes in using mindfulness-based therapies to manage stress in addition to strong emotions. She said the emotional transformations of Mr. Shannon in addition to his wife during those last seven years of their marriage can be attributed to human nature.

“A tragedy such as illness can absolutely bring couples closer as they fight a common foe together,” she said. “We get closer when we find a space to be vulnerable together.”

“The usual day-to-day annoyances fall away,” Dr. Fielding added, “in addition to we remember what truly matters, in addition to we grow united in what’s most important.”

Mr. Shannon still lives in Sewickley, Pa., a little town 13 miles outside of Pittsburgh, where he in addition to his wife raised three sons, including Chad Patrick Shannon, 44, a lawyer turned writer who wrote with his father “The Best Seven Years of My Life: The Story of an Unlikely Caregiver.” The self-published memoir was released in December. in which chronicles the metamorphosis of a distant-to-doting husband.

“My dad was hard-driving in addition to demanding both as a spouse in addition to as a parent,” he said. “He was successful in business, however he was also in which very serious, intense, Type-A personality who all of my high school friends were afraid of.”

“My mom loved my dad, however to be honest, he wasn’t fully in love with her until those final seven years,” he continued. “however once he got there, he just wanted more in addition to more of the true love they so enjoyed catching up on.”

inside memoir, Chad Shannon described the moment when his father came to a crossroads in terms of producing caregiving decisions for his wife in which could relentlessly test his resolve, in addition to hers.

“Most people’s reaction to these circumstances could be to tumble into depression,” he wrote. “Life has dealt you a bad hand. You’re boxed in. in which could have been so much easier for George to find someone else to take care of her than to do in which himself. Bring strangers into the house to offer round-the-clock care. Put Carol in a home. Take the easy way out. however in which isn’t George. Self-pity wasn’t an option for him. If he ever felt sorry for himself, he never showed in which. He was all in. When the relationship faced its drastic change, George totally accepted his fate in addition to grew coming from in which. He recognized anew in which he was, as he puts in which, ‘terribly in love with in which woman.’ He found joy in a seemingly never-ending task in which could buckle most of us at the knees.”

The memoir also revealed various other personal challenges faced by the Shannon family, including the fact in which George Shannon was diagnosed with prostate cancer on his 60th birthday.

“My cancer is usually present however very much under control,” George Shannon wrote.

however there could be various other birthdays to celebrate, over in addition to over in addition to over again.

“In her last years, Carol could comprehend a lot however could only speak in short sentences, in addition to she had trouble remembering things,” George Shannon said. “For three straight years while I was taking care of her, she went down to our local drugstore, which features a selection of about 5,000 birthday cards, in addition to she picked one out for me, soon forgetting what was written on each card.

“Yet on all three occasions, a year apart, she picked out the same card, which told me inside end how much my wife truly felt about me,” he said. “The cards read: ‘Happy birthday to my husband, my soul mate, my very best friend — I love you.’”