November is National Caregiver's Month, and I want to say a few words about my husband, Bob. I never thought that he would end up as a caregiver for me, and I'm sure he didn't either, but he has accepted the challenge with grace, strength, love, tenderness and enthusiasm. I knew he would.
We met back in 1984, when I was just starting at Lockheed. Bob had been recruited a year earlier in the same way I had; by our college instructor in digital design, Fred Hilsenrath, who also worked at Lockheed's space sciences research laboratory in Palo Alto. Bob and I were both just starting out, and we hit it off immediately. I know this seems trite, but it really was love at first sight. Some people thought it was odd, because our backgrounds were so different, but that didn't matter to us. The biggest problem was that I was already in a relationship, and a very abusive, dysfunctional one at that. I won't go into details, but suffice to say that this man, who was 8 years older than I, had been manipulating and psychologically abusing me since I was 15 years old. I wanted out, but he had me under such tight control that I was afraid to even think about leaving him. But all that changed when Bob came along; he led me out of the darkness and gave me the strength I needed to change my life.
Bob is my best friend, my confidant and the love of my life. I'm amazed at the calm and gentle way he is accepting this new role that Parkinson's Disease has thrust upon him. I wish it hadn't happened, but I'm so grateful to have Bob's strong shoulder to lean on and his warm and loving hand to hold.