The Long Journey


Years of mercy, 2010-2016

Rhonda Collins never knew Ruth for most of her life, however, Rhonda became a very close friend in that long seven-year journey of her terminal illness, disability, and dying. Rhonda was a special friend for Ruth because she was the friend who knew what it was to be, to have a life-threatening illness, and to spend much time in the hospital, not as a social worker, but as a patient. Rhonda tells the story of that special relationship and the strength that it gives.

Margaret Warnick was a PA social worker close friend of Ruth. Margaret retired from her job soon after Ruth became terminally ill and also professionally left the PA (Ruth remaining as an out-patient and an occasional in-patient). With more time in her hands, Margaret invited Neville and Ruth to spend morning tea with her and her partner, Collin, in their Forest Lake home. Neville and Ruth would also have Margaret and Collin over for morning teas in their Sunnybank Hills home. Margaret’s story brings uncommon insights into who Ruth was as a lover of kittens and of other creatures who needed her tenderness and kindness, particularly the homo sapiens who surrounded her.

An Invitation to Join the Project

How do you explain the life of Ruth? How do you express thanks for her kindness and for your kindness in the hour of sorrow? How can you reach out and provide comfort?

Momentarily, we all struggle to find the words. The words are there, and they just need crafting into narrative. Stories of Ruth are what will explain, express thanks, and provide comfort.

As Ruth’s lover, life-partner, and her historian, I am favoured with a gift. I can bring Ruth alive in the pages of a personal history. It is a gift I happy to share with you, in time.

Like the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, I will build a monument for my late wife, but it will not be a tomb. It will be a monument of a living history. The Taj Mahal is not only the architectural design; it is constructed from sandstone, marble, bronze, paint, stucco, and gemstones. History is constructed from many stories with the skill in the historian’s design.

Would you help me? I would like to apply your stories of Ruth and you to the construction. Great personal histories requires many, many, stories, and I promise that, if you provide the material, you will find your stories somewhere in the edifice.

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