Claudia Cooley

When Your Journey Gives You Surprises

(Did you think we’ve been Missing in Action?)

As many of you know my husband Dale and I created the possibilities, put our plan together and embarked on a 9300-mile trip across America once again. When we left Southern California, we were excited to experience maybe 7,000 miles as we had done a couple of years ago. However, we threw caution to the wind as we decided “what the heck” we could go where we wanted, didn’t have any tight deadlines and of course … we are our own bosses. We did a lot of “why nots”… along the way… such as “why not” go further north and enjoy a coastal trip down the west coast from Washington to So. CA. “Why not” travel 100 miles out of our way to allow our grandson to visit 3 states simultaneously and scratch that off of his “bucket list”.

On the first leg of our trip, we had invited our 15- year old grandson, Ty, who lives in New York to fly across America and travel back with us in our motor home, which we lovingly call “Freedom”. What a delight we found him to be, not surprised really, and traveling over 3 weeks together, 24×7 we still enjoyed him every minute and he seemed to feel the same way. What a treasure this time was for all of us.

Thank you all for following our “Freedom Trip Across America” on Facebook. We loved hearing your encouraging and cheerleading as we traveled.

Then you might have noticed I disappeared off of Facebook.

With only a few short weeks home we faced a huge surprise, something so unexpected and not ever planned for. Dale, my healthy than anyone I know husband, had a heart attack. The day after our 54th wedding anniversary, he experienced a heart attack and didn’t even know it. He even substitute taught at a high school that day. The next day he felt very fatigued and felt we should go to emergency… that’s when our new journey began.

After a holiday stay at Hotel Kaiser, waiting to get past the 3-day week-end to allow for test to be made, he was scheduled for surgery. To let you know, living a healthy lifestyle pays off. He did have arteries that needed to be repaired, however, his heart is healthy. So we feel blessed that eating healthy, staying active and having an overall lifestyle has paid off. His recovery has been really quick.. and today 8 weeks out of surgery, he is returning to substitute teaching, driving and was just out using the weed whacker to cut down some weeds. He’s not climbing ladders yet, but I bet by the time the avocadoes are ready he will be doing just that.

This surprise on our journey has taught me the value of friendships. The support, prayers and encouragement has been amazing. We have made it through this tunnel with lots of light from our friends and family. We really feel we have been so loved and cared for and blessed by God. Friends are still mowing our yards, washing Dale’s pick-up and driving it to keep it revved up. Even taking him places before he could drive… even for haircuts. Keeping him engaged in life so he was never discouraged. Blessed, Blessed, Blessed… for sure… now we hope we can be there for others in the future.

Thank you for reading this letter that says thank you for caring about us. We certainly care about you.

Blessings on your journey and may any of your surprises strengthen and enrich your life as we feel ours has been.

Dale and Claudia Cooley

November 4, 2015
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