Everyone in the Silver Disobedience community is aware that the decades after age 50 can (and should) be the most fulfilling of one’s lifetime. George and Carol Shannon were among the couples looking forward to spending their silver years happily together. And then one night while vacationing in Mexico, Carol suffered a debilitating stroke. What happened in the following years is the topic of a stirring new book that is sure to resonate with all Silver Disobedients: The Best Seven Years of My Life: The Story of an Unlikely Caregiver (2018) by George Shannon and Chad Patrick Shannon.
In the immediate aftermath of his wife’s stroke, George was filled with fear and apprehension. Would Carol live? Would he be able to take care of her? What would her quality of life be like? Could they effectively navigate the labyrinth of healthcare needs to ensure her days were as comfortable as possible? Right then and there, George made a promise to himself: he would serve as Carol’s caregiver to the best of his ability. Each of the electrifying chapters shows how George made good on his promise, inspired by his deep love for his wife.
“I told myself that if Carol survived this, then I would devote my life to making hers better,” George writes. “I would do whatever it took to make her healthy again. With that vow, an all-consuming feeling transcended the anxiety that had wracked my world all day long: I’m terribly in love with this woman.”
As the book relates, over the next seven years, George and Carol faced a series of medical and personal challenges that would relentlessly test their resolve. Each day George would help Carol meet her needs, and every night, he would go to bed wondering whether he had done enough.
But he soon discovered that the caregiver role comes with unexpected rewards—gifts that would leave him a better, happier and more fulfilled man. It is truly inspiring to see George not only assume these responsibilities on his own, but also find the highest kind of joy in doing so. Along the way, as his relationship with his wife is transformed, we watch as George becomes a humbler, more compassionate and spiritual human being.
The book provides a template for others facing similar circumstances as they seek comfort and inspiration to rise above their travails. This poignant firsthand account of a caregiver and his patient—who is also his wife—reminds us all that it is never too late to live a life of devotion.
The Best Seven Years of My Life is available on Amazon in hardcover, paperback and Kindle.
Silver Disobedience was provided with a free review copy of this book.