Slice of Life/Caregiving/Unconditional Love
By – Sheri de Grom

I’m desperate. I’ve lost my heart.

I’ve looked everywhere.

Last night in a panic I cleaned everything, and I do mean everything.

At the end table by my favorite chair I shook out magazines, picked up 50 or more Prismacolor Premier Pencils, and placed them in their case where they belonged, sorted reams of research materials I’ve received and not had the time to read. I went through 3 or 4 weeks of mail, picked up my manicure things and still no heart.

Down on my knees I looked under the table and under my chair, behind the table, the windowsill and any number of places nearby, no heart.

I can’t believe it. My heart is still missing and I always find my heart.

Over the years, Tom has been leaving small silver hearts for me all around the house and then he waits for me to find them. Sometimes I’ll find them the next day and it’s never taken me longer than a week.

The silver hearts have never been a once a week deal or even once a month. I never had a clue as to when one might appear and I never knew why with the exception of Tom’s loving me unconditionally.

Silver Heart Running Wild

This time was different–he’d hidden one so long ago, he’d grown worried that I’d tossed it out with the trash. This is the first time he’s ever told me he left a heart and approximately where.

Did my heart go in the big green dumpster? I know it’ll be lonely and still wondering why I haven’t found it like all the others. I cherish each one. They are as important to me as all the gold and diamond jewelry Tom’s designed and made me over the years.

The hearts are unique and I have no idea how many more he’s made. He hasn’t been able to work in his shop for a long time.

As the woman at Tom’s side, I want that heart. It’s something for me to hold onto when the nights are lonely and I wonder how I’m going to keep his breathing going and keep the wounds clean. In years gone by, I often wondered how many times I could bring Tom back to reality after another psychotic break. Today, I pray God will continue to allow me to do whatever it is that I’ve been doing that opens his trachea and allows him to breathe.

Tom continues to fall frequently and I’ve discovered a new way to cope instead of trying to help Tom up immediately. I’ll lay on the floor with him and wrap my body around his. I’ll toss a throw over us for warmth and we often go to sleep. Sometimes when we wake we find we both have the energy to hang onto the furniture and get up one more time.

Tom laughed last week and said, “Isn’t this what we used to do way back when?” I reminded him those memories are as sweet today as they were 30+ years ago.

The laughter presented a gift all it’s own. I can’t remember the last time I’d heard that full throated laughter I’d taken for granted all those years ago.

About my heart–it’s still missing. And, it’s my fault. You see, I’m into pile management and the past few months have been worse than ever.

I’ve been working on a VA appeal for Tom and I to receive help with his care. The paperwork has demanded my attention for 12 to 15 hours a day [yes, I moved back into my workaholic mode] but the decision by the VA will determine how much longer I’ll be able to care for Tom. If we obtain assistance, we should be set to live in our present home until one of us departs this earth.

You might imagine the amount of paperwork I’m talking about when I tell you I’ve had to gather, sort, read and highlight relevant material from his medical records since Nov 1, 1987! That’s a lot of paper and a lot of piles.

The hours I’m working on the VA paperwork seem to consume me alive, heart and all. It’s definitely the reason I haven’t posted a blog since mid-November and the reason I haven’t been around to chat with everyone.

When I do find my heart, it will go on this beveled glass tray Tom made for me wherein he preserved a crochet fancy piece made by my Grandmother Fromm.

Fancy work between beveled Glass

The glass is an exquisite dusky rose with semi-precious stones making up the decorative wire work on each end. This captivating work of art is the perfect place for my hearts.

photo 5b

In the meantime, I wish you and your loved ones the most joyous Christmas ever. May we have Peace on Earth.

I hope to post 2 additional blogs before the end of the year taken from my journal notes of our first Christmas in Washington, D.C. They will close out my 4th year of blogging and relaying to you, my readers, the reality bipolar disorder presents when it arrives at your door.

We no longer worry about bipolar disorder. I watch daily the destruction bipolar disorder contributes to Tom’s pain. It’s the pain of inhabiting his own body wherein there’s no relief. It’s the unforgivable ignorance physicians display when they withhold treatment because an individual has a mental disorder. This is the ultimate stigma determining life and death of those we love.


About Sheri de Grom

Retired Fed/JAG, 5 yrs. on Capitol Hill. Former book buyer for B and N. Concerned citizen of military drawdown. Currently involved in mental healthcare reform, health care strategist and actively pursuing legislative change wherein dual retirees are exempt from enrolling in Medicare at their own discretion without losing tertiary healthcare benefits. Monitor and comment on Federal Register proposed legislation involving Mental Health, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Medicare and rural libraries. Licensed OSHA Inspector to include Super Fund sites. Full time caregive to Vietnam era veteran. Conceptualized, investigated possible alternatives, authored, lobbied for, and successfully implemented Title X, Section 1095 (known as the Third Party Collection Program of Federal Insurance).
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125 Responses to HELP, I’VE LOST MY HEART

  1. PTcontender says:

    Wow, you two have been through/ are going through so much. Your post made me cry when I read the part about you both laying together on the floor and remembering so many years ago. You’re a great writer. It made me miss my boyfriend more than I usually do (long distance until December). Thank you for such a moving post

  2. hubertwrites says:

    Sheri I just barely remembered your name 😦
    I read the article Help, I’ve lost my heart, It was stunning with passion and compassion, I could see you and Tom in every word!

    I guess I have lost my heart a few times in these last few years. I just posted a blog post that would best tell it all. I hope you and Tom are okay.

    God Bless you Sheri


    • Oh, Hubert, I’m so glad to see and hear from you. I thought I’d lost my contact with you. I’d searched and searched and finally, here you are. I was getting really disgusted with my reader because everyone shows up there except for the people that I follow.
      Yes, the little silver hearts have always had a special meaning to me and it’s a way Tom and I have stay connected through the years. Just yesterday, at my computer desk and in my office I found a tiny porcelain box and on the outside he had painted “You’ve Given My Heart A Place To Belong.” When I take the lid off the box, inside is a perfect porcelain heart with the words, “My Heart,” painted on it. It’s the little things that keep our marriage going in-spite of all of the hard times.
      Thank you for finding me, my friend. With love, Sheri

  3. God is Good says:

    I call that heart back … your silver heart … we have many stories of returned beloved objects in my daughters little blog God is Good for Kids … God just kept returning precious things for her in a season around the time she was 4 to 8 years of age … we hold onto them for others and ourselves … so I hold onto our testimonies for you and ask God to “do it again please” x

  4. Pingback: SHERI, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? | Sheri de Grom

  5. floridaborne says:

    What if…and this is only a “what if,” you present him with your own embossed heart and say, “I lost my heart to you years ago, this represents the bond between our 2 hearts that will never be divided.” ???

  6. SingleFocus says:

    Praying for you…

  7. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  8. Ileana says:

    Ganduri bune pentru o zi minunata!!

  9. Ileana says:

    Te pretuiesc pentru ca imi intri direct in inima , bajbaind prin bezna neputintei mele, si scoti la lumina doar acele mici comori ale sufletului pe care nimeni altcineva nu le-a cautat atat de departe…
    I appreciate because I go to the heart, groping through the darkness of my helplessness, and bring out those little treasures of the soul just that nobody else has looked so far away …

  10. anitaskocz says:

    This post has really touched me. I understand on some level what you are going through. I pray the heart is found! I pray the VA will provide care! They do for a friend of mine, and yes, it is an overwhelming amount of paperwork .

  11. Clearly, I’m behind on my blog reading, too. This is lovely. Hope you find your silver heart. You certainly haven’t lost your loving heart! All the best.

  12. Hi Sheri…Your writing—Wow—You are creative spirit…And! Beautiful you are…Thanks for sharing your posts with us…Wishing You and Tom—days of—Gentle winds—Soft curves and Wonder…Phil

    • Phil – Thank you. You made my day. I’ve ventured into my office for the first time today. I remember those days of long ago when I spent long stretches here and wonder how I managed to take those hours for granted.
      Tom is in more pain than in the past and today it has been especially brutal. I often wonder why or how one special man can be asked to endure so much.
      Thank you for reading with me and leaving a comment. It means a lot. Sheri

  13. Deborah johnson says:

    What a beautiful love story! From getting on the floor with him to him making the beautiful tray. I was captivated by every word. Oh, that everyone who has a caregiver was loved that much as well. Blessings. Debbie

    • Hi Debbie, Thanks for dropping in and reading with me. Tom is an amazing artist and he tells me one of the things he misses the most is being able to work in his studio. I haven’t found the silver heart as of today but I’ve spent a lot of time on my knees looking for it. I know it’s still around the area where he put it and I know it will turn up one of these days.
      There’s nothing easy about being a 24/7 caregiver and I’m not sure I could do it but for our unconditional love.

  14. What a beautiful way for Tom to express his Love for you Sheri but I’m sure he stole your heart a long time ago.

    I hope Christmas was as Special as you are and many Blessings for the New year.

    “Christ”ian Love – Anne.

    • Anne – Happy New Year to you and Ron. I’m the first to admit, Tom stole my heart on the night we met Nov. 11, 1983. He’s been the only one for me since that oh so special night by the sea — Carmel-By-The-Sea, California. I knew I had finally come home to a man that knew how to give and receive unconditional love. I’d never believed in love at first sight and it was a blind date of all things. A military man who worked for Tom wanted to meet one of my girlfriends. Plus Jim and been telling me about how I just had to meet his boss and a military man that would be a perfect match for me. Of course Jim was wanting to set up a double date. Jim had been nagging me forever about meeting this special man. I kept telling my friend, Jim, “I was doing just find on my own, thank you very much.” Little did we know on that fateful night, Jim would be the best man at our wedding.
      Our holidays have been quiet but I wouldn’t ask for anything more. We were together and have shared the days together. What could be better than that.

  15. inesephoto says:

    Wishing you and Tom a happy, healthy and safe 2016! What about that heart, did you find it?

    • How nice to see you, Inese. Well, the silver heart I’m looking for is still missing and trust me, I’ve done a considerable amount of looking. In the meantime, late Christmas Eve I heard Tom in his studio hamering on something. He hasn’t been able to work at his jewelers bench in months. I couldn’t believe my ears.
      I rushed to the door of his studio and there he was. I asked what he was doing and he informed me he would be out in a minute!
      Later that evening I found a heart made of many delicate wires of white gold ever so carefully twisted individually and then made into an intertwining rope. With this rope he made me a oh so special heart. Needless to say, I put it in the credenza with the others but this one sits propped up against one of our wedding pictures.
      Tom told me later, “I couldn’t let you go through Christmas without your heart!”
      Happy New Year to you and yours.

  16. I thought of tom and you throughout the holidays. I pray a heartfelt word of peace and health for you both. I wish I lived closer, I’m an ace at finding things. I’d find that heart, in well, a heart beat. I don’t know if it’s sheer nosiness or I’m part bird dog, but I’m great at locating little things. I hope it finds its way to you soon.

    • You are welcome to drop by anytime. I’ve also thought of you often as I’ve watched award shows and such and wanted your opinion on certain things. Of course I’m a sucker for Christmas shows and as Tom likes to tease me, “It must be my country roots because I’ll watch them all no matter how bad they are! I normally watch them after Tom’s asleep but now I have a new little dog to watch them with me. After we had to put both of our Shih Tzu’s down near the close of the year, I’m delighted Bailey is a country music loving guy. He’s 3 so still impressionable but he does indeed love music.
      Wishing you a wonderful New Year ahead. Sheri

  17. Ileana says:

    La Multi Ani 2016— Happy New Year 2016

    Gândiţi-vă la trecerea dintre ani ca la o poartă. Puteţi să treceţi prin această poartă în noul an şi să luaţi cu voi doar lucrurile şi gândurile bune. LA MULŢI ANI!
    Consider the passage of years as a target. You can go through this gate into the new year and to take with you only good things and thoughts. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  18. Dearest Sheri, I am so sorry to be so late commenting but the truth is that I just did not feel up to addressing all that you wrote about. I feel deeply for you and wish that you lived nearby, I could offer you a spell of sitting with Tom and taking care of his needs. I have three nurse friends and the three of us could surely help you out but alas you are many miles away.

    I must have missed a post for in this one I learned that you no longer have your dear and precious little dog. I am so sorry.

    Last but not least I hope with all my depressed heart that you find this very important item. I can understand the love and sentimentality associated with that precious heart. It will most likely turn up when you least expect it- that’s how thing go for me when I lose something.

    I spent Christmas alone for I have not the desire or the energy for “doing up” Christmas. My two adult kids (no grandchildren in this small family) don’t like it but since my energy level is so low I simply can’t push myself to celebrate Christmas.

    I hope that somehow you and Tom had a good day today.

    Much love to you and to Tom.

    Fondest regards,

    • Yvonne – I wish you were close also. Please, never think twice about being late in responding to me or reading a post. I’m almost always late and normally it’s at least a week. While I’ve been working this stack of medical records, I’ve been on the blog little to none.
      I’ve opened my heart to the universe for another rescue shih zue. She or he doesn’t need to be a purebred. Prissy was but that was just how it happened. Scooter was a mix. I simply want a loving heart that’s open to a lot of love and lap time and what rescue isn’t? I share your sentiments about the “doing up” of Christmas. It was Tom and I and he slept all day per usual and that was fine with me. When he sleeps, he’s free of the pain. There is good news regarding a bit of relief from the VA. I have a licensed and bonded ‘care professional’ who will be available to us for 6 hours @ a time 30 times a year. That’s a start. She cannot administer medication to Tom but she can at least call 911 if he gets into trouble with his breathing, etc.
      I feel I’ll have a medical degree by the time I get through the medical records. I’m glad I had the career I did as it prepared me for this most important work I’m doing. However, I sure need the medical component to go with it. I spend half my time looking up medical information at a deeper level than ever before.
      Take care my friend. Gentle hugs and prayers coming your way. Always a friend – Sheri

      • Sheri, that is great news about a “care professional.” I hope that you will take advantage of that so that you can have some down and me time. It will be good for your body as well as for your mind.

        And as you have written, knowing a good amount of medical information surely is beneficial to you now as you sift through so many medical records.

        Hugs and prayers for you and Tom.


        • Yvonne – Yes, I plan to take advantage of the free time. I picked up my new rescue Shih Tzu yesterday. We’ll be able to have long walks and I can go to the coffee shop to have coffee and fun stuff away from Tom’s illness for a bit of time. Sometimes I think it would be good to sleep 6 hours:) The dog is an absolute love and he acts as though he is as glad to be here as I am to have him here.
          Take care my friend. Stay safe and warm. With love, Sheri.

          • Oh I am so glad you now have another little dog to love. The doggie will be good for Tom too.

            And yes, a good long 6 hour nap would be very restorative for you.

            • Yvonne – Bailey is a bundle of joy for both of us. I’m in charge of the dog walking so that gets me out of the house for brisk walks several times a day. We’d requested another dog about the same size and age of Bailey. It’s been a very long time since we’ve had a 3/yr/old in our house. We’d planned to rescue an older dog [9-10] but when I called the head of the rescue organization she was convinced we really she meet Bailey. Upon our initial meeting, he walked towards me with his front legs up asking me to pick him up. I’ve never seen a rescue acclamate to a new household so quickly. We don’t know a lot of his background other than he wa with a hoarder. He is absolutely previous and so loving (imo). Take good care of yourself, my friend. Another year will roll around and I’ll be in the same place if I don’t take some action soon. Love you. Sheri

  19. One heart you have not lost is the heart you and Tom have for each other. Unconditional love has always been hard for me. It doesn’t come from our selfish human nature. Your post mentions the toll Tom’s illness and his doctors’ misdiagnoses have had on him, but it saddens me to think about all of the creativity Tom has been unable to express–all the beauty the world has been denied–because of the crippling effects of Tom’s health issues. From everything I’ve seen, he’s a brilliant artist.

  20. willowdot21 says:

    Sheri dear friend I am praying to St Anthony and St Joseph to help you find your heart…. you have the biggest heart i know! Love to you and Tom and Happy Christmas! xxxx ❤

    • Hello my sweet friend. Tom can barely move about and it’s extremely painful for him to stand on his feet but I heard him in his studio a couple of days ago. I was so worried he would hurt himself. By the time I could get to him, he had returned to his chair and looked exhausted. I took care of a couple things and decided to sit down and read for a bit.
      Beside my chair, and on a note pad was a silver heart. This heart is different from all the others. He had taken a piece of silver twisted wiring and made a heart shape. I couldn’t help but laugh and be tickled at the same time. Tom was pretending to be asleep but I saw the smile escaping the corner of his mouth.
      Before I could misplace this heart, I quickly placed it in the glass credenza along with all the other hearts.
      Tom told me later that he couldn’t let me go through the holidays without my heart!
      I know I’ll find the other heart but who knows when.
      Happy holidays my friend. I hope to make it around to your blog soon. I’ve missed reading with you. Sheri

  21. Anonymous says:

    You are the embodiment of love. H keeps his heart beside him all of the time.

  22. Patty B says:

    Although I also hope you find your heart, it is comforting to know that you will always have Tom’s heart joined with yours. A Christmas blessing for both you and Tom and may 2016 bring you both the desires of your hearts. {{Hugs}}

    • Patty – I’ve thought of you often during this holiday season and know there’s nothing more you’d wish for than having your Tom back in your life. I marvel how you’ve moved forward and found comfort in your faith and new activities.
      I’m looking forward to hearing about what 2016 has in mind for you. Merry Christmas my friend. Sheri

      • Patty B says:

        Thank you Sheri – I saw a picture today of both of us on vacation all happy – some days I don’t think my mind and heart have caught up together yet. But the kids are a blessing to me and we had a nice Christmas. Yes 2016 will be interesting. I am tying up some loose ends on a few things and I should be back to writing before long. Missed you – pray for you and Tom often. You have given me courage and strength more than you know. Blessings!

  23. I pray you find the heart….what a warm, loving tradition he has created for you! May you both have a loving and joyous Christmas…you are in my prayers!!

  24. Mae Clair says:

    Merry Christmas to you and Tom, Sherri. I do pray that heart will turn up eventually. As always, your powerful love for each other shines through in your words, and all that you do for one another. May blessings, peace and love surround you both. Merry Christmas, my friend!

  25. That title had me for a moment that I quickly scanned the post and since have read it again with a little more time. I always love reading your heartfelt love story, the tidbits of the unconditional love you have and share with us. My prayer is that you get through all that red tape to get the help you need. In the meantime, may you have a wonderful Christmas.

  26. Jane Sadek says:

    Oh Sheri, I’m praying that you find that heart. I wish we were in the same town so I could come help you sort through the piles. I am so glad you are working on getting some help. You need it. I’ll be praying about that too.

    • Jane – Wow – if you were here I’d hand you a pile of medical records and 3 different colors of hi-lighters and let you know the specific words I’m looking for. Never before has the medical/legal jargon been so important as it is now. “If it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen.”
      I know my silver heart is here somewhere. I’ve moved stacks around and around to make room for more medical records as they arrived. Thirty plus years of files is a lot of files and I’ve had to request Tom’s records from the military under Freedom of Information and I always feel like that’s going into a deep hole of never-never land.
      Thank you for the prayers. They are always gladly accepted and appreciated.
      I wish you a wonderful Christmas and coming New Year in your new home.
      BTW, how is Precious. I tried to look back on Facebook but lost the link I’d been away from Facebook so long. I know far too well what she means to you.
      With love, Sheri

      • Jane Sadek says:

        Precious is continuing to improve, but she’s not ‘well’ yet. I don’t know if she ever will be, but I keep working towards that goal.

        • Jane – You and Precious continue in my prayers. One of the foods Prissy would eat and continued to eat until the last couple of days was ‘Recovery RS’ by Royal Canin. It was only available from our vet. She’d only had organic food from the time we rescued her as she was alergic to many grains. I often cooked organic brown rice, green beans, carrots, & peas with a bit of beef. That concotion was a main stay for both of our dogs most of the time. Tom and I often laughted we could eat their food if we didn’t feel like cooking!

  27. GP Cox says:

    It hurts me to hear you in so much pain. You, with so much love to give, and a man who would thoroughly enjoy receiving it, were he able to. You know I’m here whenever you need me, and ALL my best to Tom.

  28. Sheri, Reading your post was a most poignant experience. As I wrote earlier, my prayers are with both of you. May God bless you both to catch the right trade winds in your sails to lead you to a happy, healthy and prosperous life. Have a Merry Merry Christmas. Jo

  29. ksbeth says:

    oh, i just want you to know that your heart is right inside of you, silver or not. you share that heart with tom, the way he shared his silver hearts with you all those years. what an exquisite gift each is! you are both amazing. hugs on the floor or standing – beth

  30. rabbiadar says:

    Sheri, I have an irrational conviction that that heart will turn up at some moment when you need it.

    I am also a “pile manager” and sometimes I don’t immediately see things that helpful and loving others put out for me. However they almost always turn up, because folks like you and me rarely toss things out without a look.

    Much love. And in awe of the love between you and Tom.

    • Hello, Rabbi Ruth – Thanks for stopping by and lending your thoughts. Yes, I too believe the silver heart will show up in due course. There’s been absolutely nothing usual about the past 3 months or so. I’ve had my head in piles of medical records for so long, I’m surprised I’ve noticed anything.
      You are correct, nothing goes out without me taking a look at it. Tom is unable to walk across the street to get the mail and that gives me time to sort it before I even reach the house. It’s handy to dump much into the trash before I arrive at the front door.
      Love coming right back at you. And I’m the luckiest woman to have the unconditional love of a man who I love unconditionally. As my father said as he walked me down the aisle, “It took you 40 years, but you finally got it right!”

  31. Merry Christmas Sheri and Tom ! Though I don’t like to hear of the efforts you must go through to obtain help, your post did me good. When I “heard” the laugh myself. Your solution, to lie down on the floor and take a nap, seems quite brilliant to me. And lovely. God bless you both.

  32. Oh Sheri – it’s been such a year (several/many/decades) for you and you still manage to find warmth, love and humor. I love your response to Tom’s falls. I laughed. We were the same for many years when we were much younger. Even the odd naughty escapade in our 40s! These memories of more carefree times are so important. They keep us grounded and sane. Thank you so much for sharing. I will call this week. Much love, Mary (and Jacques)

    • Mary, Once I understood it wasn’t important that I get Tom up immediately, it was such a relief to both of us. The falls somehow took on a less traumatic tone and we didn’t worry about them as much. Yes, they are still troubling and yes, they still happen but life does go on. We both recognize the danger of broken bones and all that but the collapse of Tom’s trachea is far more disturbing.
      And, yes, the memories we have of days gone by bring joy to our hearts and understanding of the ‘way we were’ and further understanding of ‘why we’ll always be.’

  33. Sheri

    Sending thousands of warm-and-fuzzy heart blankies to keep you warm. “One day at a time,” is the way to travel. You never know how close you are to victory!

    My love and constant prayers for a valiant friend of mine.


  34. Terry says:

    I can’t help but say this to you because I care and for the fact of my brother’s falls. Please be careful. I know it sounds like sort of a camy out thing but the facts are he is a patient, and people can be cruel. People also tell other people things and can blow stories up and be down right rude. I hope you understand and see where I’m coming from with the falls and remaining on the floor. Big hugs, and Merry Christmas

    • Terry, I’m not sure exactly what you are saying. Are you suggesting that Tom is falling on purpose or that he’s not taking all the precautions that he should.
      He had an unsteady gait before the psoriatic arthritis set in and left him ambulatory and only in a wheelchair. I was thrilled when he graduated from the wheelchair to the rolling walker. We have many places in our home where he cannot use the rolling walker and he hangs on to furniture and the walls from one location to the next. It’s not the best situation but the only one we have right now.
      With that being said, there’s no place I’d rather be than next to Tom. It can be on the floor or on the ceiling–More than anything I want us to be together.

      • Terry says:

        Oh no, I’m not suggesting anything like that. Al fell alot. Sometimes he had to go to the ER. After a few visits, they told me that 1 more trip to the ER, they were going to investigate. What I’m saying is, some people wouldn’t see him being on the floor as a patient for any length of time for any reason. People can be action before thinking. I totally understand why you lay next to him. I learned through the years that not everyone has compassion and understanding. I think you do an awesome job caring for Tom and your love shines through and through. Big hugs

        • Thank you, Terry for clarifying your statement. I couldn’t figure out exactly what you meant. And, you are right, others can be so cruel sometimes. Often they don’t realize they are doing so. We’ve basically stopped going to the ER and tell our doctors the ER cannot do anything for Tom that we cannot do ourselves. The only thing they will do at this point is give him a breathing treatment and I do that here at home. Why wait 6 to 12 hours in a germ laden place when we have the option of treating Tom at home.
          I never planned to join the medical field but it seems that’s where I am. I’ve learned more in the past 6 months than I ever wanted to know but you understand that all to well.
          Thanks for the support you lend. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and all the joy it may hold for you and those you love. Sheri

  35. Heart-rending post. Beautiful tray and silver hearts. I keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.

  36. Sheri, I feel every word you write. I see your organizational-self doing the work behind the scenes but more than anything I hear your heart. I always knew you had strength of will unequaled and I admire your tenacity of being that does whatever needs doing to keep Tom alive and as well as possible given the limitations of the moment.
    My whole being wishes you more moments of laughter and awareness together. I can’t help but think once again that there is no one better than you to do this labor of love together with Tom. Anyone else would have given up, given in, fallen amidst the rejection, resistance, and ridiculous bureaucratic BS by now.
    What I had to do was mine to do. What you have to do, is yours, but in this time of trial and heart-wrenching choices, allow that there is a beauty of spirit that shines from within between you. That spirit was there when you married and it will be there after “one of you departs this earth.” If I’ve learned anything this past year, it’s that the love doesn’t go away.
    I’m sorry that this is happening to you and Tom. I wish it were not. I simply lack the vocabulary of heart to convey how much I feel for you and wish you joy and happiness in the crevices of this needful care.
    Merry Christmas, sweet friends. I know your heart is aware and will find you when the time is most right to be found.
    After all, you could never lose his heart, or his love.

    • Vandra – Thank you for stopping in and commenting. You’ve had what is undoubtfully the hardest year of your life. The loss of Jim, I cannot imagine the grief and heartache you still feel each and every day.
      You’ll never know how many times I’ve thought of you as I’ve sorted through diagnostic codes and different illnesses Tom has in order to obtain the level of home care Tom needs. I still have mountains of medical records to go through – but go through them I will – again and again. I’m not leaving a single stone unturned. The forms are difficult enough, perhaps I’ll have a medical degree by the time everything is over.
      Have a Merry Christmas, my friend. Are you writing? I read your thoughts when I get to Facebook and wonder if you are saving your writing. If not, I urge you to do so. Sheri

  37. I don’t think I can improve on what Cindy wrote in response to your poignant post. My heart is with you. Wishing you days of laughter and peaceful night through the holiday time and 2016.

  38. Sheri my thoughts are with you and Tom. I’m sure you both share a special place in each other’s hearts and that is the most important. Happiness to you both during this holiday season.

  39. Elyse says:

    I’m hoping that somehow that heart makes its way to the VA, so that they will have a heart and do what needs to be done for you and Tom.

    Happy Holidays!

    • Elyse – I couldn’t agree with you more. The hoops caregivers have to jump through is insane. It’s no wonder attorneys are making a fortune on preparing these claims for veteran families. The intent of the law actually makes sense [home assistance is cheaper than having the veteran in a nursing home]. Instead, the VA acts as though they are guarding Fort Knox. It doesn’t seem to matter that the VA gave out $142 million in bonuses when some of the worst scandals in history were going on. That money would have helped many caregivers of veterans.

  40. Sheri, this post brings tears to my eyes… I wish everyone knew this kind of love… you love well Sheri and Tom is blessed because of it… Hang in there… Those hearts are beautiful and you are blessed to have a man that cares that much about you…

    • Michelle – Thank you for dropping by. Your posts have been of tremendous strength to me when I’m feeling lost in spirit so many times.
      And yes, I also wish everyone experienced unconditional love with their life partner. There’s nothing greater to bond two people together. When Tom and I married and agreed to cherish each other in sickness and health before the eyes of God, unconditional love stepped in and made those vows stronger.
      Keep writing, my friend, and I’ll do my best to keep reading. Your words are perfectly poised for souls such as mine.
      Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  41. Tom is so talented! I didn’t know what to think when I read the caption to your blog – not sure if it was better or worse than what I expected. God Bless you both this Christmas. We also are facing a Government that is cutting back on Vet. care. Help with the outside work has been just about halved, and Rod and I are struggling to keep things done. Came at a bad time also as Rod’s leukocyte count has started sky-rocketing… Hang in there my friend.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, Maureen about Tom’s artistic talents. His parents were always asking when was he going to get a real job, one where he wore a suit and tie? They just didn’t get it and I knew they never would; after all he was both an engineer and and earned an MBA trying to fit into that mold.
      I hear you about work going undone. I walked around the house today and counted the number of light bulbs that need to be replaced. I have the new bulbs, but I cannot get on even a short household ladder and neither can Tom. Tom cannot walk across the room and I can’t afford one more head injury. It seems crazy how the little things we used to take for granted are now out of our reach, literally.
      We want to stay in our own home but I’ve had to hire so many things done the past 3 or 4 years and of course it all comes out of our budget. Needless to say, that budget doesn’t go as far as it used to.
      The United States promises to care for their Veterans but they sure have an interesting way of doing it. But, instead of complaining, I need to get back to the piles of paper.
      Merry Christmas, my friend, and I hope your holiday season if filled with joy. Sheri

  42. This is a very beautiful post, Sheri, and pulls as my heart so much. My favorite part is when you and Tom cuddle together and rest instead of trying to get him up off the floor. I can picture it perfectly and it’s a sad yet heartfelt description of the lengths you have gone to stay together and find a peek at some happiness along the way.
    You’ll fiind that heart. I just know it. And I have a feeling you’ll do well with the VA. No one could do that job better and your advocacy for Tom is grandiose.
    Have a meaningful Christmas and a better 2016 than you thought possible.

    • Patti – My dear friend, thank you for your continuing support. Yes, I believe I’ll find my little silver heart when the time is right. I have been surrounded by piles and stacks of medical records for months and legal citations from the federal register regarding VA Administrative Law and it all goes on and on. Many days are 12 and 15 hours that I work on the paperwork and still manage to care for Tom.
      The times when Tom falls, I try to catch him but that doesn’t always happen. I’ve managed to collect enough throws and such over the years in my travels throughout Europe and afghans my mother made [I keep them in stratigent places around the house]. That way, if we do end up on the floor, it’s an easy reach for me to cover us up and keep us warm and cozy. It’s not an ideal solution but it’s the one that’s the easiest on both of our bodies and allows me to get much needed sleep.
      Merry Christmas to you and your family, Patti. You’ve had enough of your own challenges this year and may 2016 greet with you with happiness and love surrounding each of you. Sheri

  43. inesephoto says:

    Sheri, I can read your love story and never get tired 🙂 So sorry for the lost heart, hope you find it in your papers somewhere. I wish you a wonderful Christmas time, many sweet memories and warm hugs!
    Love, Inese

  44. cindy knoke says:

    The one thing you could never loose Sheri is your heart and Tom has a big enough heart to share pieces of his with you for thirty years. What an amazing love story.
    Merry Christmas and loads of love to you both~

    • Thank you, Cindy. I wanted something lighter to share before the holidays. I’ve been drowning in paperwork for the VA and with stacks and piles of medical records everywhere, my little silver heart could be just about anywhere. What I do know, it’s not where Tom left it. He’s left these hearts around the house for me for year and I’ve cherished each one equally. What I do know is that he left the heart on a day when I was more than likely really frustrated with all that was going on and he was probably feeling bad because he couldn’t help.
      Thankfully I’ve had a career in developing evidence and putting solid case files together [however none as personal and as important to our future as this one]. Our future living arrangements depend upon my success of getting the two cases files perfect. If I get them perfect, we’ll be able to live in our current home until one of us passes and then the other would be able to stay as long as they wanted. It’s a great program but the VA makes it almost impossible to access.
      Merry Christmas, Cindy to you and yours.

  45. Oh, Sheri, I can’t tell you how worried I was by that title when it arrived in my email box. I drop everything I was writing–I had to read the entire post, just to catch up with the amazing amount of work you do. I’m saddened by the loss, have complete confidence you will find it, and happy it wasn’t something else.

    My prayers are with you for the holiday.

    • Jacqui, I would have had some happy smiles and other cartoons around the top of the blog but had a hard time getting pictures in where I wanted them. I fought the system the entire day yesterday. I have moved into 24/7 caregiving but it’s worth every minute to have Tom with me. I’ve turned the house upside down looking for the silver heart and haven’t located it.
      I’ve been so bogged down with piles of paperwork and feel I’ll have a medical degree by the time I fight my way through the VA requirements of obtaining help for us.
      I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas, Jsacqui.
      Last night when I couldn’t sleep and I needed to be awake to measure Tom’s oxygeon level, I printed off several of your blogs about maintaining our computers and have started on Tom’s first as he hasn’t been in his design studio for some time.
      Merry Christmas, my friend. Do your children get leave to come home for Christmas? All the years I was away, there was never anything as wonderful as coming home for Christmas and the folds of the family.

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