Archive for the ‘January 2011’ Category

Inspirational Story of How We Get By Giving

Friday, January 28th, 2011

I find it tremendously gratifying and inspiring to hear from people that were touched by my gratitude journey and my book, This is the Moment.  I recently received an incredible story from a reader and with his permission I am sharing excerpts with you.

I thought Raymond’s your love story for his wife, Doris was both remarkable and refreshing and I am so grateful that he shared it with me.

If compassion, love and generosity in marriage were the basis of a distinguished honor, Raymond would clearly be a frontrunner for a lifetime achievement award.  He not only “walks the walks” but he is so articulate and expressive.  It is a brilliant example of how “we get by giving”

“Often marriages are put to the test when couples are confronted with financial problems or if a spouse is stricken with chronic illnesses.  All marriage will go through good and bad times.  But if couples stick to one another during those rough times, the relationship will improve steadily as time goes by.

I am a caregiver to my wife, Doris Lau who was stricken with schizophrenia at the tender age of 17.  Schizophrenia is the most distressing of all mental disorders.  It is an illness that is often camouflaged and many people who are inexperienced in managing this illness may at first believe that the sufferer showing irritable, moody and suspicious behavior has a bad personality or is ill behaved.

Coping with the symptoms of schizophrenia can be extremely difficult for family members who remember how active a person was before he/she became ill.  This illness is terrifying because it is unpredictable.  It requires 24-hour, minute-to-minute care.  After caring for Doris for more than thirty-three years, I am now more alert to the warning signs of schizophrenia.

Many people find it very hard to believe that I married Doris despite her mental illness.   So why did I marry Doris?  Unlike the many girls that I dated, Doris was very down-to-earth.  I found her to be sincere and caring.  This was the woman that would change my life – dramatically.

And having witnessed how my mother suffered at the hands of my abusive father, I swore that if I ever got married, I would never walk my father’s path.  I told myself that the woman I marry, whoever she is, I will love forever.  Though it is an arduous and painful journey for me to manage my wife’s dreaded schizophrenia for more than three decades, I often draw my strength and compassion from Jesus.  Can you imagine what will happen to Doris if she had married the wrong man?

Today, my wife has a total of five illnesses, including schizophrenia, arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol and incontinence.  Being the sole caregiver to my wife for more than three decades is no easy feat and I have suffered burnout so many times.

The good news is that through my love, encouragement and support, I have managed to turn Doris into an author of not one, but 5 books.  This is a remarkable achievement for someone suffering from a serious mental disorder.

Through the many talks that I have given, I have always mentioned that people with mental illness just need one person to love them and with medication, they will recover.

Doris has often asked me if I would ever marry again if she should pass on before I do.  To this I answer,

“No one will ever replace you in my heart, Doris.  I will live in your memory for the rest of my remaining life.  I will be contended to know that in heaven, you will no longer be tormented by illnesses that has torn your mind and body apart.  Please wait for me up there, for I want to be reunited with you once again, my dearest Doris. If I have to start life all over again, I will still choose you and no other.”

P.S: Raymond runs a website at:

What in inspiring and fabulous story of love, dedication and appreciation.  How wonderful that Raymond can express his love so openly to Doris and with us.

If this story moves you to have expressions of profound gratitude with someone significant in your life, I would love to hear about it.  With your permission I could also share it here on this blog with the hopes that it will ignite sparks for others to pay this message forward.  It is never too early to express gratitude, but it can be too late.

Share your story here.

How One Journey of Gratitude Changed My Reaction to Life Threatening Moments

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

After I completed my yearlong journey of gratitude described in This is the Moment,  my wife, Lola and I decided to go on a Caribbean cruise. Halfway into the trip, I felt chest pains and saw the ship’s doctor. He discovered that I had an abnormal EKG, and my blood pressure was 50 percent higher than it usually was. Given my father’s early death from a heart attack, I was afraid that I might be following in his footsteps.

Since the next port after the one we were on was a remote island with no hospital or airport, I had to make an immediate decision about what to do. I chose to leave the ship and fly home so that I could consult my own doctors. As it turned out, it was a muscular problem in the chest area, and I’m fine.

This was not the first time I’d had to cut a cruise short. Just two years earlier, Lola and I had embarked upon one in the Mediterranean. A few days into the cruise, I began experiencing what was initially diagnosed as indigestion but which turned out to be a life-threatening strangulated hernia. I had to leave the ship immediately, and I found myself on the island of Corsica, where I knew no one and had no resources. Frankly, I was panicked on top of being seriously ill.

I was overwhelmed by the fear of losing my life, but I had another source of anxiety as well. I knew in my heart and soul that I hadn’t said everything I really wanted to say to those who have mattered in my life.

That experience and my subsequent one in the Caribbean were like before-and-after emotional x-rays. I had two similar circumstances with two very different reactions. On the cruise we took after my year of gratitude, I was no longer overwhelmed by those emotions when faced with a life-or-death situation. I felt peaceful knowing that those significant people unequivocally knew how important they were in my life. Plus, there was an audio recording of our conversation that they could listen to if something happened to me. In turn, I knew how everyone felt about me, and it was as if I’d already been to my own funeral and heard the eulogies.

This sense of completeness was never a part of my intentions for my gratitude journey, but it turned out to be a profound by-product of it. If that peace of mind had been the only outcome, then my journey was worth taking. I came to this epiphany in that moment when I thought my life might possibly end prematurely.

How would you feel about your relationships if you, or someone significant in your life, became seriously ill?  Would you have regret for what was unsaid?  Or would you feel at peace knowing you communicated to those who are important to you how grateful you are for their contributions to your life.

Don’t wait to connect with those people who have impacted your life.  Make a brief list of how one, just one, person made a difference in your life, and reach out to him/her today.  If you aren’t sure how to start or you need help verbalizing your thoughts, download the free guide available at the bottom of this page by simply typing in your email address.