A “TRUE LOVE STORY”that can change the way you love: A couple to remember


First they got to have the fairy tale. It all began with two young people becoming international Pen-pals. She from the United States, he from Malaysia.


Brooke young penpal

An American Pen-pal with a young man in Malaysia. They were connected by a mutual friend on a Christian blogging site.

Brooke first christmas

While many had their doubts about the growing love and relationship of this long distance romance,  the optimism of young love would prevail and after 4 years of exchanging their hopes and dreams in blogging online, the families would meet the couple at their wedding in beautiful Malaysia  as well as one in the States for a celebration of  hope and  love.                                            brooke malaysia           brooke cake

So many traditions were observed at the weddings, and happiness spilled over like the liquid poured into the glasses.  Never had two people’s love been so obvious to others, yet the cultural challenges were ahead of them as they settled in the United States in Iowa as Mr. Mrs. Lawrence Tao Chin Lim.

Bookes fairytale wedding in Malaysia

Brooke's heart with Lawrence

They looked forward to the love that was symbolized in their hearts being joined and making them one.

Brooke Dee Dee lawrence 3

And eventually there were three. Enter “Dee Dee” the adopted rescue greyhound, and what would turn out to be a fortuitous “rescue” for both   Dee Dee and for Brooke, and of course, Lawrence.


Brooke lawrence and Dee ion couch.


Brooke ME explained

Brooke and Lawrence began to notice there were changes occurring with Brooke physically, including her balance.  Brooke was working from home doing typing online through a company that provided her transcription clients to assist. Enter me into the equation as I met Brooke online through a mutual friend, and soon enlisted her to edit a novel I had written. It went fast and smooth until……………..it didn’t.

Brooke was complaining of symptoms that at first seemed vague and could fit many situations and diagnosis. She was being given diagnosis like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and many more, but nothing covered all the symptoms she was developing. People began to flood her with opinions and then with criticisms and doubts that she “wasn’t   facing her problems head on”.  They accused her of not “listening to the doctors” when they gave their opinions and when she still sought further opinions”. Many even had the audacity to embrace the “Suck it up, Buttercup” mentality in how they interacted with her.

When I began to see discrepancies and errors in her work for me and knowing her “due diligence” in all things, I began to talk with her in-depth about her health. As a nurse of many years, I knew what it was to “fly blind” trying to pin-point a diagnosis that fit.   . I encouraged her along with others close to her,  to persevere despite the mis-givings of others. To her credit, Brooke was no quitter and her own best advocate and researcher.

Brooke DeeDee balance assist

Meanwhile, the beautiful Dee Dee was turning out to be a natural caretaker. She began formal training  to learn to assist in stripping the bed, emptying   laundry from the dryer, turning on/off lights and opening doors. All a great help to Brooke and fun for DeeDee.  After two years of training she became a full service dog. Dee Dee  is  trained as a mobility assistance dog.

brooke and DeeDee

Dee Dee was one of the dogs featured in the National Geographic book, Devoted. 38 Extraordinary Tales of Love, Loyalty, and Life With Dogs. (Amazon.com) authored by Rebecca Ascher Walsh. * Photo credit* for the cover photo of “Emma” goes to David DuChemin.  Dee Dee’s article was entitled,  Unusual path to service.”

Brooke DeeDee National Geographic pg 18

While the diagnosis of the rare disease was devastating, it was a starting place to get the palliative care that was all that was available; NO CURE.


Me sickest people

Brooke would now be considered in the Very Severe  category. 

Her symptoms escalated, and her pain and suffering overwhelmed her. She would reach the point where sensory overload would force her to shave her head as even the stimulation of hair was too painful to bear. She would also have to wear sunglasses to tolerate light, even a computer monitor, and her muscles and balance had failed her. 

Brooke bald  Brooke online life

Turning 30 would find Brooke in Hospice care at home, and Lawrence having to leave work to be the caretaker they could not afford. Dee Dee would continue to do her part to care for the one she loved.

Brooke and Dee in bed sick

If they could go back they would still be the  couple in love that married in Malaysia. They would be “forever young.” They would be healthy and happy.


brooke and lawrence

And yet as Valentine’s Day 2016 is upon us, there is little that they can do in their situation, but each has high praise for the other after the last  years of severe struggle.

From Author Joyce Godwin Grubbs :   This is written by me in a post to Lawrence January 2016.   I am wondering if people actually know the amazing man you are?? If anyone has an idea of the rigorous schedule you maintain on your own due to the ongoing need for more help?  Help, I know as a nurse, is not affordable or available except in small time allotments, and as others volunteer. I do not know why you and Brooke were given this role in life, but I do know that God knew you would be great stewards of His love, faith, and through you others would see the true meaning of love. The true meaning of  “for better and for worse” and that truly, something lies ahead that will make this all come full circle in a way that only God can see and know at this time. In my life (now almost 73) I have not known or seen a love story play out like this and still be “beautiful”. . I feel privileged to know the 3 of you; Brooke, Dee Dee, and you my dearest Lawrence Tao Chin Lim.

Lawrence Tao Chin Lim
Lawrence Tao Chin Lim January 2016.   Dear Joyce Godwin Grubbs, what you said has encouraged me to press on in what I am doing, in which glorifies the Lord as well as serving my wife. I know there’s reward which I can’t see, though I do not even know what that is lol! All I can say is I thank God for enabling me to do this, for my wife, for His Kingdom, as long my heart is in the right place. (smile emoticon) I have so much to wish for, to hope for and I know that with God who can do more than I ever dare to dream of, He will definitely surprise me in the end, amen?
From Brooke: January 2016.  Lawrence is amazing. Seriously. He handles the worst, most inconvenient, messiest, grossest, and basically all around cruddy jobs while caring for me every single day, without complaint. He routinely tells me he is here for me, that he cares, that he’s happy to do what he can for me, that I shouldn’t feel bad, and, of course, that he loves me. When I vomit seven times a day, he is right here holding my hand each and every time. When I hurt, he asks what he can do, then does it. When an adult diaper needs changing, he takes care of it, no matter how nasty it might be. When the doctor says I now need shots every two hours instead of every four, he sets an alarm to wake himself up so I don’t end up in severe pain from missed or late doses, even though he’s already a walking zombie from setting alarms every four hours for the past several weeks. He’ll never quit, never leave, never walk away, and never knowingly hurt me or leave me to suffer. Yes, Lawrence Tao Chin Lim is an amazing man. And he’s *my* husband.
 HOW WILL THIS AFFECT YOU , THE READER AS YOU  APPROACH CELEBRATING VALENTINE’S  DAY IN 2016?   Will it really still be about chocolates, flowers, a movie, and a funny card? Or will you reflect on the real love that is able to withstand “for better or for worse”? Will you be seeking or sharing a love that says, like Lawrence says to Brooke, “I‘ll never quit, never leave, never walk away, and never knowingly hurt you or leave you to suffer” .
Dear readers, I am wishing you a deeper meaning in your celebration of Valentine’s Day and hope you embrace the idea that we never know when we’ve given the last Valentine card, have done the “cute thing” for the last time, and when we have done it before life changes in an instant. We are in the time of showing that “true and telling” part of the real love we have for that person. That one with whom we have a commitment to love.
“Greater love hath no man than that he would lay down his life for his friends. *wife* ” (paraphrased)  John 15:13  Lawrence’s life is on hold for the woman he loves, that they may fufill the deepest kind of commitment, and experience the greatest depth of love. Would you?  Brooke is in the role of the “receiver” which is hard for anyone who is used to being the giver and the fixer. Consider that each role, his and hers, has love at its core.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, MAKE IT COUNT. Author Joyce Godwin Grubbs   copyright sign2016

About joycegodwingrubbs2

Some call me retired: I am RE-FIRED. I have written 15 books, plus 3 written as a "ghost writer". I no longer offer the novels as printed books, having them only available as Kindle Ebooks since my retirement as a novelist. Twelve books are on Amazon.com Kindle eBooks: collectively they are known as The Greyhound Lady Walking suspense series.They are real cases fictionalized into suspense stories to protect identities..( no victim/survivor names were compromised, and workers and locations were protected.) I also co-authored a non-fiction book: Footsteps Out of Darkness: The Annabelle Kindig Story . It is available on Amazon under the name of Annabelle Kindig. I have traveled, written from the heart, and found an audience that appreciates my "platform". The catalyst to writing the novels was the realization that if I died, I would take all my amazing experiences in these real cases with me; and believe me few have lived 5 lives in one. It would "silence the voices" of the victim/survivors whose triumphs are written into these novels. The suspense series was written in part with the collaboration of police woman and sex crime expert Trula Ann Godwin. In addition to the novels, I have written as a ghost writer for a World War II veteran who fought in the South Pacific aboard the USS Maryland in all the major battles. I have also written a non-fiction book recording oral history stories of my family members beginning with the 1930's to present. There are sixty-six "legacy" stories with pictures. It was recently published as a private printing for family and close associates only. I am a published photo journalist having won the 2009 Editor's Choice Award for internet freelance news articles and pictures of the Cedar Rapid's Iowa flood victim accounts and their personal struggles.. My husband and I are in our 52nd year together (only one blip on the marital radar together), and we have adopted three greyhounds; Dex, Big Buddy and Baby Doll. These were the inspirations in the Greyhound Lady Walking suspense series We have eleven grandchildren, 7 grandsons and 4 granddaughters. My three children live in Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio.
This entry was posted in A Salute to Friendship Perfection and Passing it on, Greyhound adoption, marriage, ROLE MODEL, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A “TRUE LOVE STORY”that can change the way you love: A couple to remember

  1. This is a wonderful account of Lawrence and Brook’s journey together. (I’ve always thought of Lawrence as a saint.) Thank you for writing this, Joyce. Marcia

    • I could fill a book about them, but it is true that a “short story” is harder to write. How does one tell that story in such a short form? So happy they have your support, and I believe that Valentine’s Day is a great time to tell their story. Thanks you for commenting.

  2. Sue Gauden says:

    Lovely tribute……made me cry!

  3. Thank you so much for making this, Joyce. You actually paraphrased one of my favourite verses, Hebrews 13:5-6; might if I post it?

    …for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently say,
    “The Lord is my Helper [in time of need], I will not be afraid.
    What will man do to me?”

    If people want to know more about Brooke and her experience they can visit her website at Documenting M.E. and to learn more about the disease Myalgic Encephalomyelitis they can visit The Hummingbirds’ Foundation for ME. (Or, if anyone finds that link too overwhelming, they can go here: What is M.E.?)

    Thank you again,


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