Meet Tina T. Jerry’s wife. A retired school teacher who had a hard time letting go of her love of teaching and the children she taught. As her husband’s medical condition got worse, her children and other family members surrounded her with love and encouragement to retire and remove the stress of work and care-taking. She finally made the decision to do so.
It was very painful for her to lose this identity. Teaching in a neighborhood private school, that was part of a church community she was very well known and loved. Her children all went to that school; they attended Sunday School and were active participants in all the youth activities. The whole family volunteered time, money and effort at various events and activities. The community gave her a beautiful retirement party; she cried throughout the whole thing – especially when one student, 3000 miles away, attended the event through modern technology by Skyping and exclaiming her profound imprint on his childhoood!
Tina’s retirement came quickly. She had to take the measures to prepare for the unknown future with her ailing husband. They sold the house and moved into a smaller home. She became the sole care-taker of her husband. In a six-month period, all that she knew was gone. Her husband, her job, her home. Tina was very lucky though; her new home is on the same property as her son and his family – the door is often unlocked because she got tired of getting up to open it as the kids ran back and forth between the two houses. Her friends have rallied round to make sure she gets out of the house for meals, movies and other excursions.
For a long time, Tina resisted having other care-takers for Jerry, but now she does bring them in for a bit of respite. She has begun to create a new life for herself. Retirement was thrust upon her too and is a retirement she did not expect either.
Tina’s hands photograph from Personal Collection of Helene and Zaf
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