Ron Richards has made good on his promise. During his wife’s fight against cancer, she asked him to write about his experience as her caregiver to help others who might be in the same situation.
“It's entitled Dodging Dandelions and is a narrative of our life together,” Richards says of his new book. “In Dodging Dandelions I often speak of the difficult times we faced. But the bottom line always came down to a determination to remain positive in order to move forward in life. The book regularly speaks to that and is a testament to how a family can still have a life full of adventure and wonderful times in spite of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.”
Sara Richards, Ron’s wife of 30 years, died in 2005 after a 22-year fight against cancer. “It was a devastating time in so many ways,” he says candidly. “Her constant struggle to stay just a bit ahead of the cancer; the awful treatments; the stress and strain of a new normal, financially; the plethora of costs that insurance didn't cover; the emotional roller coaster that is the road traveled when one has terminal cancer; and a variety of other challenges.”
Those other challenges included Ron’s own cancer fight with kidney cancer. “Fortunately, it was managed surgically, but I had a second round of it a year after she died with surgery again treating it,” he recalls.
Richards, 61, is a former sportswriter and communications professional, who now lives in Castle Rock, Colorado with his second wife and stepdaughter. He and Sara had a son and adopted a daughter from Korea who had severe mental health issues, which required institutionalization.
One bright spot in this excruciatingly difficult time: a generous and kind employer. Championship Auto Racing Teams, an Indy car racing sanctioning organization in Detroit gave Richards a year’s salary and benefits with the directive to enjoy the time with his wife now as the retirement they would never have together. They were able to travel and see friends for a year.
“I believe the biggest challenge for us men as we care for others is to accept the emotions and feelings we experience as being a good thing,” Ron says. “Too often, we tend to suppress those thoughts and feelings. It lightens the load when you communicate openly, honestly and often."
Learn more about Ron and Dodging Dandelions at his website, www.dodgingdandelions.com.