I remember very well one moment Jim and I shared while sitting in his kitchen. He was telling me about a time when Judy sort of called him out on a few instances when he’d gotten impatient with her. In fairness to him, it was getting tough. She was spending less time being the wife he’d known since he was 17 and more time struggling to get a hold on reality. The hallucinations were becoming more frequent, and he was doing all he could to maintain some semblance of their normal life, yet still do everything in his power to be everything for her.
Still, her comment rattled him. But that’s the kind of guy Jim Roe is.
In the days and weeks following the publication of that two-part series in March, I’ve had a lot of people stop me at the grocery store or coffee shop and tell me how much they admire Jim. People who were a member of his congregation when he was pastor at Belgrade Avenue Methodist Church, his friends, even people who’d never heard of him. His courage and devotion to his wife and her care, they all say, was inspiring and extraordinary.
His story is one that doesn’t get told much in today’s media: the story of the caregiving spouse. It’s a lot easier to tell a story about someone suffering from an illness than it is to turn the lens to the side a little to see the ones who are providing support, the ones who are often giving up a lot so that their spouse may suffer a little less.
Not that Jim would ever say he gave anything up. I’m quite certain that, if you asked Jim today, he’d tell you that spending a life with Judy made him the luckiest guy on earth.
Robb Murray is a Free Press staff writer. He can be reached at 344-6386 or email@example.com.