Facing Their Health Challenges Together
It seems that some couples are meant to be together despite the obstacles in their path. Ralph and Lynette Gould are just such a couple. They had an entire country between them. Ralph lived in Arizona while Lynette, the mother of four young children ages three to thirteen, lived in New York. Yet, Lynette’s brother who happened to be Ralph’s best friend had a hunch they’d make a good match. So what began as a courtship via letters, exchanged photographs, and phone calls, ended in marriage and the adoption of Lynette’s children. To this day, Lynette smiles, and adamantly shakes her head NO, when asked if she believed she’d ever find a man who’d take on that kind of responsibility. That’s just one glimpse into Ralph Gould’s character.
Today Ralph is a Hospice patient, but his illness doesn’t define him. His life does. He was born in Canada and moved to Arizona in 1960 to open the southwest markets for the Dr. Pepper soft drink. Later, he worked as a graphic artist and created the cartoon character signs that currently adorn the side of each Norwich city school bus.
When Ralph is asked what’s most important to him aside from the obvious love for his family, he’s quick to say that two of the most important events in his life surround his faith; baptism as a Jehovah’s Witness at the age of seven, and learning how to conduct Bible study groups in adulthood. Unfortunately, Ralph is no longer able to attend the twice weekly ‘meetings,’ but he’s thankful to participate using a speaker phone at home.
Ralph and Lynette share their lives, a cancer diagnosis (Lynette is being treated for breast cancer), and a deep and abiding faith. They also share an appreciation for all Hospice has done for them, supplying multiple medications, and arranging for medical equipment including a hospital style bed and oxygen. However, they say that Hospice’s most important gift is the open communication and compassion that has made their burdens easier to bear.