First they got to have the fairy tale. It all began with two young people becoming international Pen-pals. She from the United States.
But the optimism of young love would prevail and after 4 years of exchanging their hopes and dreams in blogging online, the families would meet at their wedding in beautiful Malaysia for a celebration of hope and love.
So many traditions were observed at the wedding, 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.
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 just facing her problems head on. They accused her of not “listening to the doctors” when they gave their opinions and 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 too had occasion to be doubted then proven right in severe health related problems. I encouraged her to persevere despite the mis-givings of others. To her credit, Brooke was no quitter and her own best advocate and researcher.
Meanwhile, the beautiful Dee Dee without deliberate prompting was turning out to be a natural at “assisting” Brooke, even learning to help make the bed, empty the laundry from the dryer, turn on/off lights and open doors. All a great help to Brooke. Then she was formally trained to help. Dee Dee became trained to assist her in the early stages as a balance assistant.
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.
Turning 30 would find Brooke in formal 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.
From Author Joyce Godwin Grubbs : This is written by me in a post to Lawrence 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 73) I have not known or seen a love story play out like this. I feel privileged to know the 3 of you; Brooke, Dee Dee, and you my dearest Lawrence Tao Chin Lim.