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: http://www.rayofhope.per.sg/
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. http://thisisthemoment.com/share-your-story/