Everyone has a story, but not everyone gets to tell their story. We were fortunate to have our Caregiving story told by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel entitled: In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey http://interactive.sun-sentinel.com/lgbt-dying-couple/
The story of Chris MacLellan and his partner Richard (Bernard) Schiffer was chronicled in a 2015 Pulitzer Prize-Nominated Story written by Diane Lade, “In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey” about their caregiving journey as an intergenerational couple (Richard was approximately 20 years older than Chris).
Our story told of the challenges that LGBT partners have in dealing with the medical and legal system, but it also told of the love and joy of Richard’s last year, and their entire relationship. It’s a beautiful love story, and it’s a story of the way people step up to the plate to care for loved ones in ways they never could have imagined. Their story is also a history lesson about why marriage equality is important from a humanistic point of view. Seen by more than 400,000 people world-wide, Chris and Richard’s story has had an incredible response.
Family caregivers have an innate ability to understand each other; to validate another caregiver’s feelings, just when the time is right. That is why I believe it so important for every family caregiver, (as they feel comfortable) to share their story, because when you have been in the caregiving trenches, you understand the agony… and the joy that caregiving brings to a relationship. Sharing your caregiving experience is not only therapeutic, it helps current and future family caregivers cope and understand. That’s why so many people find their calling after caregiving ends. Through story telling, we impact the lives of others, while allowing advocacy to play a key role in our own healing when our loved one life transitions and caregiving ends.
There are 40 million family caregivers in the U.S. alone, and people from all backgrounds can identify. I’m pleased to know that there is a place like One Legacy where everyone can share their story!