All too often, we walk around in a jaded mindset—making assumptions about the selfish motivations behind the actions of strangers, colleagues and acquaintances.
Apart from being purely unproductive, these thoughts can have negative consequences on our mental and physical health. A cynical perspective on the world has been linked to an increased risk of depression, cardiovascular issues and cancer-related mortality–one recent study even found a connection between cynical tendencies and a higher risk for developing dementia.
To combat this insidious enemy, it helps to remind ourselves of the goodness that exists in human beings who are willing to go above and beyond to help perfect strangers. Here are the stories of two elderly men on a mission to express their love for their wives—and the inspiring individuals who helped them realize their goal.
Police help wandering man with dementia wow wife
When law enforcement officers are called in to help locate a person with dementia who has wandered away and gotten lost, families and police alike often brace for the worst. The story has only a few possible outcomes: the person is found, either unharmed or only slightly injured; they are found, dead; or they remain missing.
But, according to CBS News report, a recent case of textbook dementia wandering had a different, more inspiring, outcome.
Melvyn Amrine had been living with Alzheimer’s for three years when he got lost wandering away from the home he shared with his wife, Doris, in Little Rock, Arkansas. When she realized her husband was missing, Doris phoned the police in a near panic.
Two officers, Sergeant Bryan Grigsby and Troy Dillard, eventually found Melvyn a mere two miles away from his house. But Melvyn didn’t want to go home. He was focused on one, simple task: fulfilling the Mother’s Day tradition of getting his wife flowers—something he’d done each year since the birth of their first child. Dementia wasn’t going to stop Melvyn from completing his mission, and neither were the two policemen.
Grigsby and Dillard drove Melvyn to a local Kroger, where he purchased a bouquet of white roses for Doris. When the older man didn’t have enough money to pay for the flowers, one of the officers provided the cash needed to make up the difference.
Flowers in hand, Melvyn and the two officers showed up on the doorstep where they were greeted by a much-relieved Doris. Seeing her husband was once again safe, Doris could not help but be moved by the depth of his love, enduring in spite of his Alzheimer’s. “Even though the mind doesn’t remember everything, the heart remembers,” she says.
Here’s the full CBS report of the story:
Recording company helps man inspire thousands with musical tribute to late wife
In 2013, 96-year-old Fred Stobaugh became an iTunes sensation when his song “Oh Sweet Lorraine” was downloaded more over 200,000 times, briefly cracking the top five list.
Unlike many artists who make it into the top five, it wasn’t Stobaugh’s industry connections or prodigious musical talent—he admits his singing “would scare people”—but his heart that inspired so many people to connect with his lyrics.
“Oh Sweet Lorraine” was a musical tribute Stobaugh wrote in the weeks immediately following the death of his wife, Lorraine. The couple had been together for over 75 years, after meeting at an A.W. root beer stand where she worked as a car hop. “It just came right to me almost, and I just kept humming it and it seemed to fit her,” Stobaugh says in a video interview with Green Shoe Studio—the recording company that helped him produce the song.
On a whim, Stobaugh entered his melody in a singer/songwriter contest Green Shoe was holding. The older man didn’t expect an answer, and was shocked to receive a call from Green Shoe producer, Jacob Colgan. Colgan was so moved by Stobaugh’s expression of love, he offered to record and produce the song for free.
To read more about Stobaugh’s incredible story and listen to “Oh Sweet Lorraine,” see: The Uniquely Touching Way One Man Mourned His Wife.
Living Proof that Alzheimer’s Can’t Steal Love
Alzheimer’s Training Increasingly Required for Police Officers
Why Every Caregiver Needs an Escape
5 Love Stories that Could Make Cupid Cry
How to Control Alzheimer’s Wandering
How to Be a True Friend to a Family Caregiver
10 Refreshing Ideas for Spring Outings with Seniors
By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor