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Today’s extract is from a memoir by Abbie Johnson Taylor, the story of meeting, falling in love and marrying her ideal partner, who sadly became very ill soon after.
About the book
In September of 2005, Abbie Johnson married Bill Taylor. She was in her mid−forties, and he was nineteen years older. Three months later, Bill suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side and confined him to a wheelchair. Abbie Johnson Taylor, once a registered music therapist, uses prose and poetry to tell the story of how she met and married her husband, then cared for him for six years despite her visual impairment. At first, there was a glimmer of hope that Bill would walk again, but when therapists gave up on him seven months after his second stroke, Taylor resigned herself to being a permanent family caregiver.
She discusses learning to dress him and transfer him from one place to another, sitting up with him at night when he couldn’t urinate or move his bowels, and dealing with doctors and bureaucrats to obtain necessary equipment and services. There were happy times, like when she played the piano or guitar and sang his favorite songs, or when they went out to eat or to a concert. She also explains how she purchased a wheelchair accessible van and found people to drive it, so they wouldn’t always depend on the local paratransit service’s limited hours. In the end, she describes the painful decision she and Bill made to move him to a nursing home when he became too weak for her to care for him in September of 2012. He seemed to give up on life and passed away a month later.
Abbie Johnson Taylor lives in Sheridan, Wyoming and is the author of three previously published books.
An extract from My Ideal Partner – Prologue – The Big Day
This couldn’t be happening, I told myself, as, in my underwear, I paced the upstairs hall in Grandma’s house between my aunt’s old bedroom and the bathroom. It was the afternoon of September 10, 2005. In the yard, I heard strains of music from the string duo my father hired for the occasion and the chatter of arriving guests. Soon the ceremony would start. Would I have to walk down the aisle on my father’s arm in my underwear? Where was my sister–in–law, Kathleen, who agreed to be matron of honor?
She was probably still at the motel with my brother, Andy; their two sons, Dylan and Tristan, ages eight and six, who were to be ushers; and their two–year–old daughter, Isabella, who would serve as flower girl. Not only were we missing ushers and a flower girl, but my dress was with Kathleen at the motel, or so I thought. Why wasn’t she here?
The front door banged, and to my relief, I heard the excited voices of my nephews and niece.
“Go out back, and don’t mess up your nice clothes,” Kathleen called before rushing up the stairs to greet me.
“You have my dress?” I asked, noticing she wasn’t carrying a garment.
“No, it’s right there on the bed,” she said, pointing to somewhere I couldn’t see.
With my limited vision, I could only make out people and objects close to me, and in the heightened emotional state of any bride–to–be, I hadn’t thought to look closely for the dress. I’d been pacing the floor and wringing my hands for twenty minutes, wondering where it was, and all this time, it was right in front of me.
“Just breathe,” said Kathleen, as she slipped the gown over my head. That was easy for her to say.
Later, fully dressed, I sat on the toilet seat while Kathleen applied my makeup. From the yard below, the string duo’s music and the din of voices drifted up and in through the open bathroom window. When I was ready, Kathleen said, “Okay, we need something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Let’s see…”
While she wandered through the upstairs rooms, I made my way to the ground floor, feeling anxious. The living room was deserted. Everyone was outside, waiting. Just as I sat on the couch to compose myself, Dad appeared and said, “Honey, they’re starting Pachelbel’s Canon.”
I leapt to my feet and called up the stairs to Kathleen, “Screw something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Let’s do this.”
One of the reviews for My Ideal Partner
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Accolades are due Ms. Johnson Taylor. I must say that it is not just for caregivers, it is a love story, a story of inspiration and determination, and a story that will make you want to read more books by this author. I, personally, am glad that Abbie does not hold anything back.
Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US
Other books by Abbie Taylor
Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US
Read the reviews and follow Abbie on: Goodreads
About Abbie Johnson Taylor.
I live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband Bill, totally blind, who was partially paralyzed by two strokes soon after we were married. Before that, I was a registered music therapist and worked for fifteen years in a nursing home and other facilities that served senior citizens. I have a visual impairment, and during this time, I facilitated a support group for others like me. I also taught braille and served on the advisory board of a trust fund that allows persons with blindness or low vision to purchase adaptive equipment and services.
I’m the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir and am working on another novel. My poems, short stories, and essays have been published in various journals and anthologies. I belong to several writers’ organizations and a women’s singing group and take water exercise classes at the YMCA
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