This has definitely been an interesting year. It started with a bang after my poetry collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver, was published in December of last year. In January and February, I held readings and signings in various locations around town. In June, I sold a few books at the Wyoming Writers conference in Casper, and I sold a few more in August at the Wyoming state fair in Douglas.
In April, I attended a poetry workshop in Casper. In May, we received a visit from our friend Louie Padilla in Colorado. Since Bill and Louie went to school together, they spent an enjoyable few days catching up and talking about old times. In June, our friend Rob Jenkins visited from New Mexico. He took Bill around town in his wheelchair, and I believe they hit one or two bars. While here, Rob took a day trip to Custer Battlefield which he enjoyed.
At the end of September as most of you know, Bill and I were forced to make a difficult decision. Because his appetite was decreasing, and he was losing strength, he was becoming harder to lift. We called in a couple of therapists to see if there was anything we could do to make transferring him easier. They told us, in a nutshell, that it was no longer safe for me to care for him at home.
We hoped Bill could move to a facility called Green House. This is a whole new concept in elder care where residents are housed in cottages of twelve people instead of with over a hundred people in one big building. Each resident has his or her own room and bath, and each cottage has an expansive living and dining area and even a patio. With fewer residents in each cottage, each person can receive more individual attention. Bill would have been happy in his own room with his recliner and computer and all other comforts of home.
However, there was a waiting list, ad we were told it could be six months to a year. For the time being, Bill agreed to move to Sheridan Manor. This was where he stayed on the rare occasions when I had to be out of town or couldn’t care for him for one reason or another. But his health steadily declined, and on October 30th, he left this world for a better place. I guess he couldn’t wait six months to a year to get into Green House.
Perhaps one good thing about Bill’s passing is that I got to see some relatives I hadn’t seen in years. Bill wanted to be buried with his parents and grandfather at the cemetery in his home town of Fowler, Colorado. We made the arrangements several years ago so in the beginning of November, Dad and I made the trip to Colorado. We stayed in Colorado Springs with Dad’s brother Tony. He and my aunt and cousins from Denver plus my uncle from California came with us to Fowler for the graveside service where I performed “Stormy Weather,” one of Bill’s favorite songs which he requested I sing. Many people from Fowler and other nearby locations were there. A few shared their memories of Bill during the service. Afterward, a local church provided lunch for us, and I had an opportunity to visit with a lot of these people and hear more memories. Dad and I also visited my deceased mother’s brother in Denver and his son and his family before returning to Sheridan.
It was nice seeing my relatives again.. Now that Bill is gone, maybe I can do more traveling. I’m already thinking about taking a trip to Florida in March to visit my brother in Jupiter. I hated leaving Bill in the nursing home while I went off and had fun. For the past few years, I only traveled when necessary, to attend writers’ conferences and sell books. Now, perhaps he’s watching me and can experience everything I do vicariously. As I write this, I can imagine him snorting. That was his way of telling me he thought I was being silly. He once said after his first stroke that he had twelve smiles. He also had twelve laughs, and I’ll miss them all.
In case you haven’t read Bill’s obituary or the poem I wrote that was included in his graveside service or would like to read them again, here they are. You can then click on the links below to hear me sing a couple songs: “Stormy Weather” and a song more appropriate for this time of year. I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season and a year filled with joy and prosperity.
Bill L. Taylor October 18, 1942-October 30th, 2012
Bill L. Taylor, 70, longtime resident of Fowler, Colorado, passed away on October 30th, 2012 at Sheridan Manor. At his request, he will be buried with his family at the Fowler cemetery, and a graveside service will be held there. Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
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.
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.
Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver