A charmed life

13 June 2020

6 years ago today Rodney and I were living in Shenyang, China and on our way to Beijing for Rod to get the experimental cancer treatment that we believe extended his life. Hard to imagine that was 6 years ago. It seems like a lifetime, and in many ways it was.

June 13, 2014, Sarah and Rodney at the Shenyang North Train Station heading time Beijing to start the experimental cancer treatment for Rodney. A combination of western and eastern medicine.

Life is a journey, and as Cervantes said “ The journey is better than the Inn”. I don’t know exactly what the “inn” in heaven looks like, but I’m betting it’s better than anything here on Earth! Having said that , my journey here on earth is pretty spectacular. I have come to adhere to the simple 6 word philosophy expressed by Earl Nightingale “You become what you think about”. Rodney introduced me to many philosophers and coaches. Just another example of his many gifts to me. Putting those two philosophies together leads me to share a very personal story. The love story of A Charmed Life.

They met in 1978, fellow soldiers and musicians in the National Guard band. Friends for years, nothing more. Then, after a series of life events a few years later, a spark ignited and they were married. Her father told him « she was born in the sign of the foot ».  He whisked  her away on a honeymoon cruise and so started their life together. He had been sober and  recovering for two years when they wed. They started their life together in Paducah, then, Louisville, then Danville, KY.  « There can only be one conductor in the orchestra »  he told her, and when she got a job opportunity in Alabama he packed up their belongings and moved their happy home. They were displaced Kentuckians, leaning on each other and falling even more deeply in love.  He adapted his career to follow her.  He had many professions during their time together…insurance salesman, gas distributor, corrections officer, auctioneer, real estate broker, buyer and seller.  With his support and coaching, Her career blossomed.  He came to know his purpose was to stay sober and  help other alcoholics achieve sobriety. He would stay true to this purpose for the rest of his life.

They moved to Fort Wayne, IN and then, Greenville, SC and then the « sign of the foot » took over and they made their first international move to the Burgundy region of France. He continued to help alcoholics even though he had limited mastery of the French language. She worked in a plant.  They lived in a small village, rode bicycles, ran foot races, went skiing and enjoyed an idyllic life in France. 

The next adventure called and they moved to Romania, where she lead a project to renovate a plant and he started and English speaking group for Alcoholics. Both of them helped people, and they continued to be blessed. 

After a time, they returned to US and went to Lexington, SC where she managed a plant and he again adapted his career to use his many skills and all the while helping people all over the world stay sober. They never had children together. It was one of her few regrets in life. His two children from a previous marriage accepted and loved her.

After Lexington, they moved to Greenville for a short while and then answered the call of the wild to go to China.  She would lead a project to build a factory and he brought Alcoholics Anonymous to Liaoning, Province China. He translated materials, paid an assistant to help him help alcoholics in China. They continued to love each other deeper and deeper. She was honored by the Chinese government for her contribution to economic development.  He was featured on Chinese TV program for his help for Alcoholics. Their Chinese friends had adopted them and captured their hearts.

Time marched on and he got sick so they returned back to the US. Within 2 months of arriving in the US, he died. She was heartbroken, yet grateful at the same time for the time they spent together.

They had known true love. The love few have had the pleasure of knowing. He always told her he would remain just behind her eyes.  He was right. Forever in her heart, just behind her eyes…a true love story.

Emily Quinn Art

To accompany this love story an amazing Artist Emily Quinn was commissioned to capture this life in the form of figurines in a doll house. Through a series of photos and email exchanges, she captured the essence of our Charmed life with oil in canvas. She is an amazing artist!

A charmed life is a term first used by my Aunt Betty when she described Rodney and mine’s life. I’m not sure what prompted her to say it, but it stuck with me. She was right. We did have a charmed life.

The painting now rests on the mantel in my bedroom, with the story affixed on the back, reminding me of our charmed life together.

I will always love you Rodney, always. You will always be just behind my eyes and forever in my heart. You will always be my Prince and I will always be your Princess.

The new chapter of my life, while not so advanced in the journey, is still charmed in many ways… just without the physical presence of my Prince Charming. I am blessed beyond measure. I have become who I have always been; I continue to become what I think about on this journey of life.