In Loving Memory

Those of you who read my blog regularly already know that I moved my husband Bill to a nursing home at the end of September because I could no longer care for him at home. If you’re new to this blog, you can read more about that here. He may have been declining even before he moved to the nursing home. He wasn’t eating as much, and because he was losing strength, he was getting harder for me to lift.

After the move, his health steadily declined. His appetite continued to decrease, and as a result, he lost a lot of weight and became very weak. Last Friday, he quit eating altogether, and early yesterday morning, he passed away. Below is his obituary along with a poem I wrote that will be included in the program for his service. You’ll also find a link to a recording of me singing a song I’ll try to perform during the service.

 

 

Bill L. Taylor October 18, 1942-October 30th, 2012

Bill L. Taylor, 70, longtime resident of Fowler, Colorado, passed away on October 30th, 2012 in Sheridan, Wyoming. At his request, a graveside service has been scheduled for Monday, November 5th, at 11:00 a.m. at the Fowler cemetery.

He was born in Fowler, Colorado, on October 18, 1942 to Marlyn William Taylor and Francis Maxine Smith Taylor. At an early age, he was stricken with rheumatoid arthritis which affected his legs and eyesight.  He attended the School for the Deaf and Blind in Colorado Springs, graduating in 1963.  He then attended Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado, and ColoradoStateUniversity in Fort Collins where he received both an A.A. degree in 1968 and in 1969, a B.S. degree in business administration and business data processing.

He then moved to California in 1969.  He was employed by SwimQuip in El Monte as a computer programmer. In 1971, while still working at SwimQuip, he started a company called Tashi which built closed-circuit television systems for the visually impaired. He was later hired by J.B.Lansing in Northridge as systems manager. After being laid off in 1985, he worked with his sister Sandy in South Pasadena, doing transcriptions.

He later returned to Fowler, Colorado, where he opened The Fowler Computer Store which operated for ten years. He also invested in real estate, managed properties, and served on the city council and chamber of commerce.

On September 10, 2005, he was united in marriage to Abigail L.
Johnson, (Abbie) of Sheridan, Wyoming, where they took up residency. He suffered a stroke in January of 2006 and again in January of 2007 but survived both with limited capacity, being paralyzed on one side.  In spite of adversity, he and Abbie lived happily in Sheridan until his death. He enjoyed playing chess and other games, reading, sailing, and listening to sports on the radio. He was a great inspiration to all who knew him.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Edwin, who died at age one. He is survived by his wife Abbie, two sisters: Sandy Taylor of South Pasadena, California, and Shirley Thayer of Lady Lake, Florida, and two grandnieces. Memorials can benefit the SheridanSeniorCenter at 211 Smith Street, Sheridan, Wyoming82801 or the Fowler Historical Society at 114 Main Street, Fowler, Colorado, 81039.    

 

 

Bill’s Hands

 

 

 

Soft, gentle, they caressed me,

once milked cows, fed livestock, gathered eggs,

tapped computer keys in a busy office,

glided back and forth along Braille pages,

placed a ring on my finger, as he said, “I do.”

When one hand no longer worked,

the other was just as reassuring.

Now, they’re both gone

but will be remembered.

 

 

Stormy Weather

 

 

Contrary to what the song says, I’m already walking in the sun. I’ve had to deal with the inevitability of Bill’s passing since Friday, and I’m finally at peace, knowing he has gone to a better place and is smiling down on me while I’m writing this and reaching for yet another Kleenex. Every once in a while, I’ll still succumb to what author Larry McMurtry calls a bomb of grief, but life goes on, and I think that’s the way Bill would have wanted it.

 

 

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

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Digging to America

According to The Writer’s Almanac, today is author Anne Tyler’s birthday. This is a great day to talk about her and one of her books I just finished reading. Set in Baltimore, Maryland, Digging to America is the story of two families, one American and one Iranian, who each adopt a baby girl from Korea.

It opens at the airport where the two families meet while picking up their babies who are flown in by a Korean adoption agency. The families form a friendship, and every year, they take turns hosting what they call an arrival party to commemorate the night they picked up the girls at the airport. The book covers the next few years of the Korean girls’ lives until they are about six years old.

Each chapter is told from the viewpoint of a different main character: the American grandfather, who loses his wife to cancer and develops an on again off again relationship with the Iranian grandmother, who came to this country as part of an arranged marriage years ago, the Iranian father and mother, the American father, and the American mother, who is diagnosed with cancer close to the end of the book. When the American family adopts a second baby girl from China, the first Korean girl talks to her American grandfather about children in China digging a hole to the United States, hence, the title, Digging to America.

Other books I’ve read by Anne Tyler include Earthly Possessions, The Accidental Tourist, Breathing Lessons, and Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. I don’t think her books fit into any particular genre. They’re mostly about ordinary people who face life changes.

 According to http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/atyler.htm, Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis. Her family lived in various Quaker communities in the rural South before settling in a Celo community in the mountains near Burnsville, North Carolina in 1948. This town operated on a shared labor basis, and her family lived in their own house and raised some stock and used some organic farming techniques.

 By the age of seven, Anne Tyler had started writing stories. When she was nineteen, she graduated from DukeUniversity in Durham, North Carolina, where she won the Anne Flexner Award for creative writing twice. Her first published short story, “Laura,” appeared in the university’s literary magazine. She did post-graduate work in Russian studies at ColumbiaUniversity before settling in Baltimore where she lived for most of her adult life. In 1961, she married an Iranian child psychiatrist who died in 1997. They had two daughters.

Her first novel, If Morning Ever Comes, was published in 1964. In 1967, after working as a bibliographer, she became a full-time writer. She won an American Academy Award in 1977 for Earthly Possessions. In 1986, The Accidental Tourist won a National Critics Book Circle Award and was made into a film in 1988. In 1989, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Breathing Lessons.

Digging to America is available on the National Library Service for the Blind’s Braille and audio download site. I’m sure that this and other books can be purchased in print and eBook formats from local bookstores and online retailers. I recommend her books to anyone who likes a good family story with a twist.

 

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

Dear Julie

Julie is the voice on my computer who reads everything to me and tells me what I’m typing. Because she sounds almost human, it occurred to me when I purchased this software that she might have a personality. This inspired the following poem from How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. Click on the link below the poem to hear Julie read it. You’ll also hear a man, Paul, my alternate voice who reads page numbers, font attributes, and other announcements.

 

 Dear Julie

 

 

I wonder what you think, as you read me my e-mail,

the Web pages I browse, other documents.

Is there something you’d rather not read to me,

something I don’t want read that interests you?

When you repeat what I type,

how do the words strike you?

When I shut down, are you relieved or disappointed?

When I boot up, do you sigh with resignation

or jump at the chance of helping me again?

Now, I’ll ask you to read this back to me.

Knowing it’s about you, will you blush?

 

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/15213189/julie.mp3

 

 

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

Rogue

Don’t worry. I haven’t dumped Bill for such a man. I just finished reading a Danielle Steel book by this title, and like her others, it was great. Maxine is a prominent New York child psychiatrist who works with suicidal and traumatized kids. She has three children of her own. Five years earlier, she divorced Blake, a wealthy playboy, because she was fed up with the fact that he was rarely home, traveling around the world to his many houses or sailing on his boat and fraternizing with other women. She meets Charles, another doctor specializing in internal medicine, grounded in his career, a bit of a snob. Thinking he’s just what she needs, she falls in love, and they become engaged. Then after an earthquake in Africa, Blake puts all his time, effort, and money into helping victims and turning a castle into a home for children orphaned by the disaster. Maxine is impressed by his attitude change. The book’s ending will surprise you.

Other books I’ve read by Danielle Steel include Changes, No Greater Love, and Amazing Grace, to name a few. She is the #1 New York Times best-selling author. According to Wikipedia, she was born on August 14th, 1947 in New York City. Based in California for most of her career, she has produced several books a year, often juggling five projects at once. All of her books have been best-sellers. She has published children’s books and poetry and raised funds for treatment of mental illness. Her books have been translated into twenty-eight languages, and twenty-two of them have been adapted for television with two of them receiving Golden Globe awards.

Most of the Danielle Steel books I’ve read are set in either New York or California and are about families who face one or more catastrophes. One thing I like about them is that conflicts are always resolved one way or another with occasional surprise endings. Most of the time, the endings are predictable, and I like that, too. Another thing I like is that although there is some romance, there aren’t many detailed descriptions of love making. If you like such stories, I definitely recommend you read her books. I guarantee you won’t be able to put them down until you finish them.

If you use BARD, the National Library Service for the Blind’s Braille and audio reading download site, Rogue and many other Danielle Steel books are available there. I’m sure they can also be purchased in print and possibly eBook formats from any bookstore, online or otherwise. The author’s Website contains interviews, movies, videos, and more. Enjoy!

 

Abbie Johnson Taylor , Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

Departure

When Bill proposed to me, he was living in Fowler, Colorado, and I was living in Sheridan, Wyoming. At first, I thought he wanted me to move to Fowler. But when we talked on the phone after I received his letter asking me to marry him, he surprised me by saying, “Actually, I was thinking of moving to Sheridan.

Two months later, he arrived and spent a week with me. The time flew by, and all too soon, we were back at the bus station, saying goodbye. The following poem from How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver describes those last few moments before he got on that bus.

 

Departure

 

We kiss in the rain

while the bus thrums nearby,

waiting to take you away.

“What’s this hood?” you ask, as our lips meet.

I try to remove it.

“Keep it on,” you say, as I yield.

I hold you, will the bus to leave without you.

All too soon, you’re gone.

 

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver