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Governor Martin Schreiber and Caring For His Wife Elaine Through Alzheimer's

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
June 30, 2022 3:30 am

Governor Martin Schreiber and Caring For His Wife Elaine Through Alzheimer's

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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June 30, 2022 3:30 am

Former governor of Wisconsin Marty Schreiber watched his beloved wife, Elaine, gradually transform from the woman who had gracefully entertained in the Executive Residence to one who no longer recognized him as her husband.

In My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver, Marty candidly counsels those taking on this caregiving role. More than an account of Marty’s struggles in caring for his wife, My Two Elaines also offers sage advice that respects the one with Alzheimer’s while maintaining the caregiver’s health. As two-thirds of those with Alzheimer’s are women, he offers special guidance for men thrust into an unexpected job. With patience, adaptability, and even a sense of humor, Marty shows how love continues for his Second Elaine. https://mytwoelaines.com/

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As caregivers, we have so many things that hit us all the time and we can't always nail these things down by ourselves. Who helps you?

What does that look like? I'm Peter Rosenberg and I want to tell you about a program I've been a part of now for almost 10 years and that's Legal Shield. For less than $30 a month, I have access to a full law firm that can handle all kinds of things.

If I get a contract put in front of me, if I got a dispute with something, doesn't matter. I've got a full law firm that can help me navigate through all the sticky wickets that we as caregivers have to deal with. Power of attorney, medical power of attorney, I will.

Every bit of it. As a caregiver, we need someone who advocates for us and that's why I use Legal Shield. So go to caregiverlegal.com. Look on the left hand side where it says Legal Shield. Just select it.

It turns purple. It says pick a plan. It'll give you some options.

If you don't need any of those, don't select them. Check out and be protected starting today. That's caregiverlegal.com. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberg. This is the program for you as a family caregiver. We're so glad that you are with us.

Hopeforthecaregiver.com, Hopeforthecaregiver.com. I'm joined today by a gentleman I got to meet a couple of years ago and thrilled to have him back. He's a former governor of Wisconsin. I think I said that right, by the way, Marty. Wisconsin. My southern accent didn't come through.

I said Wisconsin. This is Martin Schreiber, governor of Martin Schreiber. His book is called My Two Elaine's and it details his journey caring for his wife Elaine through Alzheimer's for 18 years. She recently passed away and Marty's here to just share his thoughts, his insights. This book, a wonderful book that I would highly recommend getting.

I read through it. It moved me very deeply from just one caregiving husband to another. I felt such a connection and I can't sing the praises of this enough because he's very honest about this journey from somebody who put some time in it. So Marty, welcome back to the program and we're so glad that you're with us. Well, Peter, thank you. What a privilege for me to be with you once again. And what is so wonderful about this is that you heard me talk once, but you invited me back the second time.

You have an open invitation. I am grateful. I join all of your listeners and viewers in being grateful for what you are doing.

They help give people some hope and help give people some opportunity of how to better cope with this whole business of caregiving. So you're outstanding in what you're doing. So thank you.

Well, that's very gracious. I know that you lost Elaine this year, but as you said, before we came on the show here, you've lost her for many years and it's been a journey. Can you kind of give us a little bit of a backdrop for those who don't know you? And then let's talk about kind of where you are right now and your thoughts.

So a little bit of background. Elaine was the girl I met when I was a freshman in Latin class in high school. I was 14 years old and I knew right away I was love at first sight. And so we dated and we went steady and we got engaged and we got married and four children and 13 grandchildren, now seven great grandchildren. But she was everything that you could ever want in a spouse, in a wife, caring and loving and understanding and patient and forgiving. When I would run for office, she would be the hardest working campaigner. If I would lose, she would never let me feel defeated.

And just a great life. So now she's about 64 years of age and now she's getting lost driving to and from places she'd been driving to and from for 10 years. She was a great cook and sometimes she would mess up recipes so badly that she would cry. And sometimes she would tell people what we did and we never did it.

And so that was then the beginning of what I call the second Elaine. And so we've been on this journey now for the 18 years and I think one thing that I learned more than anything else and that is if Alzheimer's is bad, ignorance of the disease is worse. And when I say ignorance of the disease, I have healthcare professionals who many times do not understand that when there is the diagnosis of Alzheimer's, there are two patients, the person who is ill and then also the caregiver. And so, but also ignorance of the disease by the caregiver, oh my gosh, Peter, you know, there's an old German saying that you get old so quick and smart so late, but I, and so I learned these things sometimes too late and I felt I just had to do something to help other caregivers learn, cope so we can survive. And so then I did everything I could to try and take care of Elaine at home. My children finally had like an intervention with me and said, Dad, if you don't get some help and get help for mom, we're going to lose you too.

And then why do we want to lose two parents? Well, what I began to understand then and more strongly, and that is that what I was trying to, what I was selfishly doing was, Peter, I was fighting this disease head on, okay, and I was not going to let it whip me. And it began to dawn on me that my fight with this disease was more important than Elaine living her best life. And finally, I had to realize that there's a better and a different way to fight this disease than trying to take it head on. And, and so the placement of Elaine into assisted living some eight years ago was one of the very toughest decisions I've ever made in my whole life, but probably was one of the best for her.

Can I ask you a question about that? When you left her that night, that you went back home after you placed her in assisted living, what was that drive home for you? Were you alone? Did you have somebody, you know, what was that like for you? Well, I tell you, I was alone. And it was, it was horrible.

It was just absolutely horrible. And what we have to fight, we caregivers we have to fight the emotional versus the intellectual. Intellectually, that was the best thing for Elaine. Intellectually, that was the best thing for me, emotionally, to, to, to leave your loved one and to know that that's, you know, the end of this life together in your own home and so forth. That was so, so difficult, but, you know, and the reason I asked that is, you know, looking back on it, would you, if some, would you say to someone now going through that same process that being alone was, it was important for you to be able to grieve that out by yourself, or would you suggest it would be better to have somebody with you? I have learned in talking with Elaine's sisters and brother, and also with my own children, everyone handles grief a different way. And I think I was glad that I was alone, because I shed tears, cried, like a baby almost. And, and I had to, and I think that's another thing for we caregivers to understand, we've got to let our emotions out. And, you know, I'm a grown man, I should be crying at 60, you know, what was I don't know, in the early 70s, I should be crying, absolutely not. But I began to realize I've got to let these emotions out, so I can, that can be help of healing. And tears are sometimes looked upon as being a type of healing.

But no, I was alone, and I'm glad I was. Now, there again, you know, every everyone handles this a different way. And I think they should think about what, what kind of comfort they're going to get one way or another.

Well, and I think that's the kind of thing I want listeners to hear from you. Because there's no, there's no wrong way. There's just, there's just the way you're going to do it, to process this out. The only maybe wrong way would be to ignore it all together. I think that would be the unhealthy way. But I think what I'm hoping to point fellow caregivers to is find that way that helps healthily process that grief out for you.

For me, when I am overwhelmed by grief, a lot of times I just go to the piano, and I like to be by myself, and I just work that out at the keyboard. And sometimes I get on a horse. You know, I think it was Will Rogers that said there was nothing wrong with the inside of a man that the outside of a horse can't fix. Right.

And I'm a big fan of that statement. But it's, you know, I think that's one of the issues I struggle with, for myself personally, and I know my fellow caregivers do, okay, how do we grief? How do we do this? And, and as we talked about before coming on the program, she passed away in April, but you've been grieving for almost two decades. Talk about that. Well, what we caregivers see, particularly with dementia and so forth, Alzheimer's, what we see is our loved one dying a little bit each day. And we know something is not going right. We try and do our best to take care of the deficits that are left, because our loved one's mind is getting smaller.

We try and deal with that. And so we work harder, we spend more time, we don't go to the gym, what we maybe do is we skip going out with friends, because we want to help our loved one as much as possible. And Peter, I had a good friend who retired. And he was enjoying retirement. He ate dinner one night. After dinner, he laid on the couch, watched television, and he died of a massive heart attack.

And it was a terrible tragedy, certainly. But there was a funeral, and people came by to express their sympathy and to acknowledge the loss. A caregiver, because your loved one is still with you, even though they are leaving you in mine, but a caregiver never has that closure that one would get when one passes away. And because there's never that closure, I think that caregivers, we caregivers do not really fully understand the fact that we're grieving, along with the depression and the worry and the anxiety that we feel. We don't realize that we're grieving. And so what I think is important for caregivers to understand is we are in the process of grieving. And I think the more that we can understand that, you know, grief and the tears are really a complement of the love.

And if it is possible to acknowledge that grief while it's in process, I think that can make things easier. Now, when we were talking before the show, you know, Elaine passed away on April 25th. And how do I feel? To a degree, I feel relieved. I feel relieved for me, but I also feel relieved for Elaine because her life was so very, very small. And I was so worried that she would maybe get COVID and have a very difficult time in the process of dying. But by the grace of God, it was passing in her sleep.

So that in and of itself was a blessing. But this process of grieving, again, if Alzheimer's- Well, I tell you what, hang on to that thought. We've got to go to a quick break here. I'm sorry, I'm up against a hard break. And I don't want to interrupt that, but I want you to give it the fullness.

So I'll let you have the whole segment of the next one. We're talking with former governor of Wisconsin, Marty Schreiber. His book is My Two Elaine's, and he brings a wealth of insight, comfort, wisdom. We're going to talk more with him in the next segment. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is Hope for the Caregiver.

We'll be right back. As caregivers, we have so many things that hit us all the time, and we can't always nail these things down by ourselves. Who helps you?

What does that look like? I'm Peter Rosenberger, and I want to tell you about a program I've been a part of now for almost 10 years, and that's Legal Shield. For less than $30 a month, I have access to a full law firm that can handle all kinds of things. If I get a contract put in front of me, if I got a dispute with something, it doesn't matter. I've got a full law firm that can help me navigate through all the sticky wickets that we as caregivers have to deal with, power of attorney, medical power of attorney. I will.

Every bit of it. As a caregiver, we need someone who advocates for us, and that's why I use Legal Shield. So go to caregiverlegal.com. Look on the left-hand side where it says Legal Shield. Just select it.

It turns purple. It says pick a plan. It'll give you some options.

If you don't need any of those, don't select them. Check out and be protected starting today. That's caregiverlegal.com. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. Hopeforthecaregiver.com.

This is Peter Rosenberger. This is the program for you as a family caregiver. Healthy caregivers make better caregivers, and we are glad that you're here pushing against the isolation that cripples so many of us as caregivers.

Today, I have a very special guest. We're continuing my interview here with former governor of Wisconsin, Marty Shriver. His book is My Two Elaine's, and it details his journey caring for his wife Elaine through Alzheimer's. He cared for her for 18 years. She recently passed away, and Marty's here to bring us some context, wisdom, insights, and other issues that we as caregivers can glean from. People like Marty blaze a trail for the rest of us, and I'm extremely grateful to have him here.

I've enjoyed our conversations in the past, and I want to continue on this. Marty, you were talking in the last segment about grief and mourning. One of the things, and I've talked about this a lot on the program, that there's a scripture that says, Jesus said, blessed are those who mourn for they mourn for they shall be comforted. But we can't mourn if we're raging out and despairing. I think part of mourning is that acceptance of what is, and the comfort comes once we cross that threshold of accepting what is.

Is that something that resonates with you through your journey? One of the things that I learned as it relates to the journey, and that is as long as I tried to keep Elaine in my world, no Elaine, it didn't happen on a Wednesday, it happened on a Thursday, and no Elaine, it wasn't the Jones, it was the Smithson. No Elaine, you don't need another jacket.

No Elaine, you don't need another blanket and so forth. And so what I was doing, I was trying to keep her in my life, making her life miserable with anxiety and uncertainty and insecurity, and my life filled with the same kinds of things. So what I learned was that I had to begin to let go of this person who once was so I could embrace and love and hold the person who now is. That process of transitioning from what Elaine was to who Elaine now is, that was a very important transition. And for we caregivers, it doesn't happen with the snap of a finger.

It happens with a little bit of tears and worry and anxiety a little bit all the time. And finally, as our loved ones world gets smaller, finally we get to the point where we get to the point of acceptance. Acceptance of this is a different person, that this is no longer the person who once was.

And what is important in that is on a few factors. One is I have seen caregivers and siblings, family members become so distraught when their loved one could not remember their name or their relationship. Well, the point of the matter is that, yes, that person once could do that, but their mind is broken. And we cannot accept the rejection. We cannot accept what we think is hurt when our loved one doesn't remember our name. So there again, it's a transitioning.

It's beginning to gain an acceptance of what the current situation is. And if we can do that, if we can do that, I think it's going to go such a long way in reducing the anxiety and the worry. So what happened is when Elaine was diagnosed, Peter, she kept like a journal, a diary. And I never understood until I read that how much she depended upon me, but never did I get an insight into her worries.

You know, what's going to happen to me? And my children tell me when it's time for a nursing home. And so within that framework, she had so many worries. You add on to the worries of someone who knows that their mind is disappearing. You have that situation. And then on top of it, to be corrected for everything. No, it didn't happen on a Wednesday. It happened on a Thursday. And I told you once before, why don't you remember so forth?

What are you doing putting the car keys in? So that adds so much more misery into someone who is already dealing with some supreme challenges. So we caregivers have to understand the importance of the transitioning of beginning to let ourselves go. Easy for me to say, extremely difficult to do, but I think so important, Peter, for caregivers to understand that so they can live a better life. Well, I see that. And I've struggled with that in my, the way I've come to understand it with me. And when I explained to fellow caregivers with my wife, for example, her legs are gone. You don't argue with amputation. You're not going to win that argument. It's done.

It's gone. It's this. And we can see that when you have a physical disability like that, it's you wrap your mind around it. I knew a man who was deaf and he said, one of the things that it was so hard about being deaf versus anything else is that he didn't look disabled. You know, when you're blind, you look disabled.

Sometimes you're wearing dark glasses or whatever. When you're disabled physically with your mobility, like Gracie is with her legs, you can see that. But with deafness, you can't.

And so people would just yell at him and become angry because he couldn't hear. And that's what happens so much when people's minds are broken, that we're yelling at the disease as if we can somehow go 12 rounds with Alzheimer's. And one of the things I loved about your book is that you show that, no, you're not going to go, you're not going to fight this disease.

This disease is bigger than us. And you clearly show your journey of coming to that acceptance. And it's a beautiful path, but it came at great cost to you. I mean, it's clear, Marty, just the conversations you and I've had in your book, this did not come easy. When you worked through that acceptance, were you doing this again by yourself?

Did you have people that were given along the way or were you foraging or did you have people with intentionality coming and giving you some guidance or how did that work for you? What I learned was nobody, now it's one thing for me to grieve by myself, as we stated before, when Elaine went into the assisted living. But in this journey, no caregiver should think that they can do it alone.

Absolutely not. If it wouldn't have been for counseling with the Alzheimer's Association, I went to counseling and that helped me immensely to be able to share with other people what your life is like, to have other people acknowledge what it's like to be a caregiver that they understand, to get help. If Alzheimer's is bad, ignorance of the disease is worse, one of the ignorant things about my journey was I realized maybe, well, hopefully in the right time that I couldn't do it alone.

And so I then did go into counseling and I did see a mentor who also was or had experienced this. And it is so important to get that kind of support. But see, I call Alzheimer's not a chicken casserole disease. If I have a heart operation and I come home and I can't get around, people will bring me a chicken casserole.

Now, if hypothetically I have a hip surgery and I can't walk, they'll bring me a chicken casserole. With Alzheimer's, because people don't understand this disease, friends of many, many years and relatives and even fellow church members and so forth, neighbors, they shy away because they don't know how to handle it. And so now the caregiver, we caregivers are going through this really tough time trying to adjust to our loved one, having their mind fade away. And in addition to that, now we feel that we're being deserted. We feel that we're being deserted because people are staying away because they simply don't know. They don't want to be mean.

They don't want to be hurtful, but they just don't know what to do. So here again, professional help, talking with someone. Alzheimer's has a 24-7 hotline that people can, but it is just so, so critical in my mind to reinforce the fact you cannot, you must not do it alone.

Here's what I found out in this process. I found out that all of the armies marching and all of the Navy sailing and all of the beer that's brewed and all of the alcohol that is distilled is not going to stop this disease. But it's the support and comfort of friends and it's acknowledging what we're going through and dealing with our emotions with the kind of help that is going to make us a difference. It's not only a matter of surviving as a caregiver, but hopefully even thriving. And we're not going to get to that point by going solo, by going out alone. Well said.

I started and lead a caregiver support group out here in our community in Montana. And I never had anything like this in Nashville when I lived there for 35 years. And I thought, you know what? We need to have some of this.

I didn't know quite what it would look like. I just did it. The first couple of, every Thursday, and the first couple of Thursday I was by myself. I should show up by myself. But eventually people started trickling and now we're having more and more people from the community showing up. And I've got a couple of gentlemen in the group now whose wives are dealing with this. And they have expressed almost verbatim what you just said, that they were trying to do this alone and it was crushing them. And they realize now that they can't, and they have to have some kind of community. One gentleman in particular, he's talking about his church.

They just all ignore him. And he said, it's very hurtful and I don't understand. And I think a lot of times people don't know what to say. One of the reasons I do this program is I want to give people the vocabulary of what to say, of how to be able to. And sometimes you don't need to say anything. Sometimes you just need to show up, just be there. And I really appreciate what you just said there because people of faith, particularly, we have a mandate to minister to the sick, the broken hearted, the wounded.

And yet we don't sometimes out of our own discomfort. And I love your words to help people push through that. I've got just about 30 seconds before we go to another break. I want to continue on this. What are your thoughts transitioning as you're getting ready to take this new place in your life where this burden has been lifted from you?

This burden has been lifted from you. And I wanted you to think about that before we go into the next segment. And in fact, I think I'll go ahead and do that now.

And I'll just go ahead and go into the next segment because I want you to, I want to set that up with you as you now have, you're transitioning yet again in your life. So I'd like for you to share your thoughts with that. Is that all right? Absolutely. All right. This is Peter Rosenberg. This is Hope for the Character. We're talking with Marty Shriver, former governor of Wisconsin and his book is My Two Elays. We'll be right back.

I'm Peter Rosenberger. And many years ago when my wife Gracie became a double amputee, she saw the importance of quality prosthetics. She saw the importance of a support team and people that could help her regain her life after losing both legs. And she had this vision of creating an organization that would help others do the very same thing while pointing them to Christ.

And for more than 17 years, we've been doing just that. We purchase supplies, we send equipment and we train and we send teams over to West Africa. We've been working with the country of Ghana, several clinics over there now. And each week more people walk because of Gracie's vision. In 2011, we launched a new program outreach to family caregivers. Drawing on my now 36 plus years as Gracie's caregiver through a medical nightmare, I offer insights. I've learned all of it the hard way to fellow caregivers to help them stay strong and healthy while taking care of someone who is not. If you want to be a part of this, go out to standingwithhope.com slash giving, standingwithhope.com slash giving to help us do more. At Standing With Hope, we're reaching the wounded and those who care for them. Standingwithhope.com slash giving. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberger. This is the program for you as a family caregiver. Hopeforthecaregiver.com.

That is my wife, Gracie from her CD Resilient. You can see more about her at Hopeforthecaregiver.com. Also check out our Facebook group. It's a private group that I started just for caregivers. It's the Hope for the Caregiver group. And you can see that in more at Hopeforthecaregiver.com. We're continuing our conversation with Marty Schreiber.

He's former governor of Wisconsin. His book is My Two Elaine's and it's available wherever books are sold. And I would highly recommend you get a copy of this book and then buy an extra copy to give to a friend that's going through this, give it to your pastor, give it to anyone you know that is touching this world.

He brings an amazing insight as you've been hearing from our conversation together. Marty, before the break, we were talking about, okay, you've done this now for 18 years and you've logged in some hard days as a caregiver. Alzheimer's is one of those things that it takes so much life out of the caregiver, years off the life of a caregiver in times. And you've done this and now Elaine has gone and you are catching your breath from this.

What's next? What's the next transition for you? Well, first of all, I want you to know how much I admire and am grateful for what you do because you're helping give insight to caregivers to give them that hope and that strength is incalculable as to the importance and value. With that being said, I know we cannot fight this Alzheimer's disease head on. And I know that if we try and do it, it's a disaster for not only the caregiver but also for the person that is ill. And I'm thinking, how can we develop the ability to learn, cope, and survive?

And I conclude by saying, forget about fighting the disease head on. The point is, our goal now, our fight, is to help our loved one and ourselves live our best lives possible. Now, that opens up something brand new because when Elaine and I were dating, how are we going to live our best lives possible? When we were getting our first daughter, how can we live our best lives possible?

Looking at home the best life, always searching for the best life possible. And just because Alzheimer's comes along, that does not mean that we stop looking for how do we live our best lives possible. And I think if it is possible for we caregivers to begin focusing on that, it's going to assuage it's going to take away a lot of that guilt, a lot of that anxiety, because now we have a new mission.

You can look at Alzheimer's as being the world's most dreaded disease. Okay, well, let's do that. But then also, let's look at what is the greatest opportunity. Well, the greatest opportunity for us is to just say, we are going to try and now focus on living our best lives possible. So what will I be doing?

I think I want to work with caregivers, I want to work with doctors and nurses and physical therapists and lawyers and human resource departments to help them understand this disease a little bit better, to help them understand the challenge of being a caregiver, and even to work to have more dementia-friendly churches and parishes and synagogues and human relations departments and so forth and so forth. And so I think that's what I want to do. And it's become a mission, it's become a passion, it's become something I want to do.

And that's an exciting kind of prospect for me, an exciting kind of prospect. You know, you spent a career in public service, and you reached the pinnacle in your state as the governor. And now you're entering in a level of public service that escapes most people, and that you are taking your own pain, your own wounds, your own heartache, and you're channeling this into a way to lift others up and reach into their heartache with a clear message of hope and a path. You've done this through this book, you're doing this through this conversation you and I have, and you're doing this through your life. And it really is quite moving, Marty, to watch this and see, and to see your passion and your energy on this. And I'm grateful to be a part of what you're doing. I've got about a minute or two, and I'd like for you just to offer one last insight to listeners right now who are just at the beginning of this journey.

Can you take about a minute to do that? Well, certainly, I think one of the most important is to learn about this disease. Again, if Alzheimer's is bad, ignorance of the disease is worse. And then the next is to join the world of the person who now is. And no way you're going to change it, accept it, and even rejoice in it to the best of your ability. And then also, by doing that, you are going to enable yourself to have more moments of joy with your loved one. And if we don't understand this disease, if we don't join the world of the person who now is, we're going to miss out on moments of joy.

And how tragic would that be in addition to the challenge of facing this disease? Well said. Marty Schreiber, and the book is called My Two Elaine's.

You can get it wherever books are sold. And again, I would highly recommend you doing this. We have a mandate from our Savior to the sick, naked, hungry, prison, thirsty. And He's pretty serious about it. And these missions of mercy, of extending mercy, that we see throughout all of scripture, and Marty has modeled this beautifully. And I think this is our calling. And as Marty also modeled for us, showing mercy to yourself, showing mercy to yourself through this journey.

It is painful enough without you putting unreasonable expectations on you to fight something that is way beyond our pay grade. We are not able to do it. I want to close with a song that I've never played on the program before. And this is a piece that I wrote for caregivers. And a friend of mine in Nashville helped me finish it up. And it's called, I Can Only Hold You Now. And I played this on the keyboard and I asked Gracie to sing it with me. And she agreed to do so and lend me that gorgeous voice of hers. And she was so precious when she did it. And she wanted to do a good job of this.

She knew how important the song was to me. So I wanted to end with this. And Marty, I want to thank you again for the privilege of just sitting down and talking with you. I cherish these times and you're always welcome.

Okay. My pleasure. Thank you so very, very much. Governor, you are most welcome. This song, I think you're going to find very meaningful.

It's called, I Can Only Hold You Now. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is Hope for the Caregiver.

Hopeforthecaregiver.com. We'll see you next time. Here's Gracie. I see all you've been. I still love you now.

Like I did way back when. A road turned, but I'm still here walking with you. Right here, right now, that's all we can do. In this moment, I live my life with you. I know there will be sorrow.

We'll face that somehow. But my hands can't hold tomorrow. I can only hold you now. Memories have wings.

Some will fly away. I will keep them safe. And we still have today. I looked in your eyes. You smiled back at me.

All I need to know right there for me to see. A road turned, but I'm still here walking with you. Right here, right now, that's all we can do.

In this moment, I live my life with you. I know there will be sorrow. We'll face that somehow. But my hands can't hold tomorrow. They can only hold you now. I know there will be sorrow.

We'll face that somehow. But my hands can't hold tomorrow. I can only hold you now.

Hold you now. Sometimes on colder nights, I'd sit by the fire in our den, and I'd be surrounded by a bunch of prosthetic legs that have come from all over the country, and I would disassemble them and store the feet, the pylons, the knees, the adapters, the screws, all those things that can be re-salvaged and repurposed to build a custom-fit leg. Then a wonderful organization in Nashville partnered with us to help take it out of my garage and my den and into a better system. This is CoreCivic, CoreCivic.com. Now, they are the nation's largest owner of partnership correctional, detention, and residential re-entry facilities, and they have a lot of faith-based programs. And I'm proud to say that Standing With Hope is one of those programs and has been now for over a decade. Inmates volunteer to help us disassemble those used prosthetic limbs. Reports show that inmates who go through faith-based programs are better equipped to go back into society, and the recidivism rate of returning back to prison is so low.

They don't want to come back, and society doesn't want them to come back, and faith-based programs are a big part of that, and that's something that CoreCivic really believes in. And we are so thrilled that Standing With Hope is one of those programs. I remember the first time we started, an inmate looked at me and said, I've never done anything positive with my hands until I started doing this program with Standing With Hope.

Another inmate told me, he said, I never even thought of people with disabilities until I started doing this. And it's an extraordinary partnership and very moving to see this. See, we can do so much with these materials, but a lot of family members have a loved one that passes away. They don't know what to do with the limb. They'll keep it in a closet, or sometimes even worse, they'll throw it away.

Please don't let that happen. Please send it to us through Standing With Hope. StandingWithHope.com slash recycle. StandingWithHope.com slash recycle. And let's give the gift that keeps on walking.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-28 17:39:45 / 2023-03-28 17:56:29 / 17

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