After forty-one years of marriage, George Shannon became acquainted with a woman he took for granted and fell deeply in love .

"Such beautiful blue eyes and a great sense of humor," said Mr. Shannon. "I loved her more, I respected her more and wanted to be with her more."

They met in 1967 at a restaurant in the Pittsburgh area, where they both grew up.

"I was sitting with a friend and when we got up to leave, I felt a pull on my sleeve," he is reminded. "When I peeked, she handed me a piece of paper with her name and phone number, I guess she liked what 's going on. she saw. "

Mr. Shannon did not flatter himself with another woman at the expense of his wife, with whom he had been married for 48 years, nor did he reveal any extramarital affair.

The blue-eyed woman with great sense of humor His wife Carol Sue Shannon, who died at the age of 70 in April 2017, passed away seven years later, seven years after suffering two strokes that led to innumerable other physical setbacks that led to Shannon becoming his main son. caretaker. It's an experience that has become essentially a second tug on his sleeve, a chance to rejuvenate a marriage that he "did not pay much attention to," he said, for nearly forty years .

M.. 73-year-old Shannon, who retired as Northeast Vice President of Sales in a Georgian company that monitors the quality of water for communities, has Of a man who drowns in sorrow when he talks about the cold and the lean years of his marriage before becoming his wife's. guardian and rediscovery of magic.

"Carol never complained or asked for anything, and I took the opportunity to be selfish and egocentric," he says while stopping a painful moment to clear his throat.

"All I wanted to do, I did it without first asking what she thought of me," he says. "I would say things like" Carol, I'm going to play golf "or" Carol, I'm going out drinking with friends "and all she would say was," It's okay. She was always addressing me because everything was always around me, but if I had to do it again, I would certainly balance things a lot better.

Mr. Shannon stated that prior to his wife being hit for the first time in April 2010 on the last night of vacation in Cabo, San Lucas, Mexico, they had " good relationships, although our love has not been so deep. " A month later, she had a second stroke, much more devastating, which had a significant impact on her speech and balance. Subsequently, she fell twice, forcing her to break both hips, requiring surgery and prolonged rehabilitation. She was going to have another fall, during which she would fracture one shoulder and then have a heart attack requiring a triple bypass operation.

"Despite all these challenges, she never lost her wit, her smile and never complained," said Mr. Shannon. "Whenever anyone asked how she felt, she was simply telling them: "I'm fine." "

When he started the guarding process, he said that he" was starting to be safe. " to worry less about me and more about it. "Mr. Shannon and his wife began to get closer and their feelings towards each other intensified" until we let's be madly in love again, "he said." I felt humbled for the first time in my life, my heart and my soul opened up and I could just feel that the Special link that we had once was back. "

Lara E. Fielding is an assistant professor of psychology at Pepperdine University and a psychologist in private practice in Beverly Hills, specializing in the use of mind-based therapies to manage stress and emotions. She explained that the emotional transformations undergone by Mr. Shannon and his wife over the last seven years of their marriage can be attributed to human nature.

"A tragedy such as illness can bring couples together who are fighting a common enemy together," she says. "We are getting closer when we find a space to be vulnerable together."

"The usual daily troubles are disappearing," added Dr. Fielding, "and we remember what really matters, and we grow together in what is most important.

Mr. Shannon still lives in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, a small town 21 kilometers from Pittsburgh, where he raised three sons, including Chad Patrick Shannon, 44, a lawyer turned writer who wrote with his father "The Seven Best Years of My Life." Life: The story of an unlikely caregiver. "The self-published memoir was published in December, which tells the story of the metamorphosis of 39, a distant husband.

"My father was tough driving and demanding both as a spouse and as a parent," he said. "He's been successful in business, but he was also that very serious and intense Type A personality that all my high school friends were afraid of. "

"My mother loved my dad, but to be honest, he was not completely in love with her before these last seven years," he continued. "But once when he arrived there, he wanted more and more of the true love that they had so loved to find. "

In his memoir, Chad Shannon described the moment when his father arrived at a crossroads in to make care decisions for his wife that would constantly test his resolution and his own.

"Most people would react in these circumstances by sinking into depression," he writes: "Life has been badly handled, you have been stuck in. It would have been so much easier for George to find someone else to take care of himself." She can do it herself, bring strangers into the house to provide care 24 hours a day. Take the easy way, but it's not George. Self-pity was not an option for him. If he felt sorry for himself, he never showed it. He was quite comfortable. When the relationship changed dramatically, George totally accepted his destiny and came out of it. He recognized again that he was, as he says so well, "terribly in love with this woman". He found joy in a seemingly endless task that would make most of us kneel.

He also revealed other personal problems facing the Shannon family, including the fact that George Shannon was diagnosed with prostate cancer on his 60th birthday.

"My cancer is present but very controlled," writes George Shannon.

But there would be other anniversaries to celebrate, again and again.

"In his later years, Carol could understand many things but could only speak in short sentences and she had trouble remembering things, "said George Shannon." For three consecutive years, while I was taking care of her, she went in our local pharmacy, which offers a selection of about 5,000 birthday cards, and she picked one for me, quickly forgetting what was written on each card.

" Yet, in three Once, a year later, she chose the same card, which revealed to me how much my wife really felt what I felt for me, "he said. "The cards read as follows:" Happy birthday to my husband, my soulmate, my best friend, I love you. »»