A “True Love Story” that will change you. When the “For better or worse til death do us part” becomes real. 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.

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

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.                                            brooke malaysia           brooke cake

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.

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 then there were three. Enter “Dee Dee” an adopted rescue greyhound, and what would turn out to be a fortuitous “rescue” for Dee Dee and for Brooke.

Brooke ME explained

Brooke lawrence and Dee ion couch.

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.

Brooke DeeDee balance assist

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.

brooke and DeeDee

 

Me sickest people

Brooke would now be considered a severe case with signs of progression into Very Severe as she now experiences some paralysis issues.

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 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.

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 two years of severe struggle.

 

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.

Lawrence Tao Chin Lim
 FROM LAWRENCE
Lawrence Tao Chin Lim 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:  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 YOUR APPROACH TO CELEBRATING VALENTINE’S IN ?
Will it really 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 ” .
Wishing you a deeper meaning in your celebration of Valentine’s Day and embrace the idea that we never know when we’ve given the last Valentine card, done the “cute thing” for the last time, and when we have done it before life changes in an instant, and we are in the time of showing that true and telling part of the real love we have for that person with whom we have a commitment of love.
“Greater love hath no man than that he would lay down his life for his friends *wife* ” (paraphrased)  John 15:13
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