When Sue Shields needed rehabilitation following a surgery, she made the trip to Good Samaritan Society – Lake Forest Village in Denton, Texas.
Sue was living in Minnesota at the time with her husband Dave, a retired Presbyterian minister.
“She said, ‘When we get ready to move into a retirement community, that’s the one I want to go to.’ That’s how we got here actually,” Dave says.
The Shieldses took up residence at the lakeside community in 2012. Needing more care, Sue moved into the health care center in 2016 and Dave into an apartment above.
“We virtually live in just different parts of the same building. So, when we can be together, it’s very easy to connect. That’s been a major asset through this pandemic time,” Dave says.
Other assets include the Society’s health care heroes and services.
“I think the staff is wonderful,” Sue says. “I get good care. Good meals."
Life during the pandemic
Both say this past year has been challenging because of the COVID-19 pandemic, even for a couple who’s been together for more than six decades.
"64 and a half years," Sue boasts.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the community dictates how often the two can see each other. They were completely separated from March to October because of COVID-19-related visitor restrictions.
When they were reunited Dave says, “We held hands for an hour. The first hour we were out here, that’s what we did."
Sue jokes that it felt “terrible. No, it was great."
Keys to marriage
Laughter is one of the keys to their long-lasting marriage.
“Humor and dependability. I could always depend on Dave,” Sue says.
The two also have a lot in common.
“Perseverance. She has a very forgiving spirit. That’s probably the key to it. Part of it is we have a lot of shared values and we enjoy doing a lot of the same things,” Dave says.
Right now, the couple can see each other for an hour a week indoors. When it warms up outside, they get together more often.
“The campus here is a pretty campus and it’s easy to walk. So, when we can get out, even now, we have a lot of pretty walks we can take,” Dave says.
Walks to cherish where they can think about what the future holds. For Sue, she just wants more of her Dave.
The couple has three kids together. One lives nearby. Their favorite things to do are watching TV or eating meals together.
“That the pandemic is over and we can go back to a bit of normalcy and have more time together,” Sue says.