After 45 years of marriage, she saw the first signs that something wasn’t right.
Her husband, Leo, was not puttering around in his garden. It had been his pride and joy ever since he retired at age 65.
Now, just 5 years later, he showed no interest…I mean zero. “What’s going on?” she wondered.
Linda and Leo had always been the fun couple. They loved to take cruises, go to dinner, bowl, and dance.
They had lots of friends and seemed to have something going on every night. Having enough energy was never a problem for them. They thrived on the activity.
When she noticed him slowing down, Linda took her devoted husband to the doctor. After many exams and tests, they got the news.
Leo had Alzheimer’s Disease. It was advancing very quickly and he would need full-time care.
It broke her heart to hear this, but she had vowed to love him through sickness and in health, and she would be the one to take care of him.
Stress, isolation, and grief eventually overtook her. She found it harder and harder to deal with his needs while she struggled with a broken heart and spirit.
She thought she was losing her mind. After mentioning this to her doctor, he made a startling suggestion.
“Linda, I recommend that you go take some dance lessons. A dance studio is a safe place for you to be social while you improve your physical and mental health.”
He continued, “I can recommend an agency to get you some help for a couple of hours a week so you can go. You need to do something for yourself or you will go crazy.”
She had seen others go through this with sick spouses. The loss of support is devastating as friends begin to drop by the wayside.
With no time to take care of themselves, the caregivers barely had the strength to put a comb through their hair.
It didn’t matter anyway because there was no reason for it. There was no company anymore.
Making the decision to go to the ballroom dance studio was a difficult one. She put it off until one day she looked in the mirror and almost didn’t recognize what she saw.
“I look so old”, she said. She thought back to what the doctor had said and made the decision. “I’m gonna do it!”
Knowing that he didn’t understand the meaning of what she was saying, Linda explained to Leo that she was going to take some dance lessons.
The idea of dancing with other men while her husband was so sick made her uncomfortable.
But, as she thought about it, she liked the notion of being challenged, of learning something new, of being touched by someone. Missing the loving touch of her husband was hard.
After she arranged for a caregiver, it was time for Linda to leave for her dance lesson.
She had decided to try the new studio in town. It was an independent studio owned and run by a former competitive dancer.
The studio was lovely and the owner welcomed Linda with a hug.
They sat down to talk a bit before the lesson. “Tell me what’s going on. Why are you here and how can we help you?”
Through tears, Linda explained the situation with her husband.
The physical and emotional stress of watching him deteriorate was becoming unbearable for her. She would be no help to him unless she changed the path she was heading down.
Her physician recommended that she take some dance lessons so here she was.
“I’m nervous and excited at the same time. I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never done anything like this by myself before.”
The studio owner explained what was going to happen during the lesson. “I have the perfect instructor picked out for you. He’ll show you around the studio and then you’ll have a sample private lesson.”
She went on, “You’ll get a chance to see what the lessons are like and he will get to know you and your abilities. After that, he’s going to recommend the best way to get you started.”
“I know you’ll do fine and you’re gonna love it.”
And she was right. Linda loved the lesson. She felt like a kid again and was so grateful to her doctor and to her new home away from home.
She enrolled right away and asked where she could get some dance shoes. She was going to jump into this 100% and do it right!
She began taking her lessons on a regular basis. Group classes were next and after a few weeks, she attended her first dance party at the studio.
The support of the staff and fellow students made her feel like she fit right in. She began to feel good at home, stronger and better able to tend to Leo.
As Linda spent time dancing she found that she was getting more fit. In addition to that, she was amazed by how much better her daily life had become, despite her husband’s situation.
Soon her instructor suggested that she perform in the upcoming studio showcase. A showcase is a recital for ballroom dancers.
Once Linda got a taste of performing she couldn’t get enough. She started doing ballroom dance competitions. First local comps then dance trips with the studio staff and other students to out-of-state competitions.
Her once aging face and body were being rejuvenated. Ballroom dancing is the best form of age reversal.
It’s the secret weapon to actually stopping the aging process, making you look and feel young again.
Linda became an advocate for ballroom dancing and made good friends while enjoying many new and exciting experiences.
Fast forward 13 years and Linda, now 83, is still dancing, competing and loving life.
She has never regretted a moment or dollar that she put into it. Without it, her life was meaningless, a burden.
With ballroom dancing her life was full of joy.
Please take a moment to share this story with someone you know who is struggling. You may be saving their life.
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