URBANDALE, Iowa — This photo of Sharon’s love for Bob moved people. It got to me several times. I’ve since learned more about the photo and wanted to share.
Sharon and Bob McGraw of Des Moines have been married “66 years in June.” Sharon tells me she goes to visit Bob at Urbandale Health Care Center every day at 1 p.m. Sharon says when she shows up outside Bob’s window, he tries to tell her how to get in the building. Bob has dementia. He occasionally cries, but he also remembers.
Bob is 91, a former Des Moines teacher and principal. Since the photo of devotion first started circulating, I’ve heard from many former students who can’t say enough about the man.
Sharon says people from all over have reached out about the image of her holding up that poster of family for Bob to see. She usually spends eight hours a day with Bob, so being on the other side of a window has been an adjustment. Sharon says it makes her sad, but they’re “in the same boat as everyone else.”
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Kari Walker Perry, originally from Madrid, took that photo. She calls Sharon McGraw, “The sweetest and most kind, caring person I have ever come across.” Kari has cared for Bob daily for more than two years. Kari says, “He’s just as wonderful as she is.”
Sharon kept steering our conversation back to Kari and the other hard-working CNAs. Sharon says, “I can’t say enough about them. Just outstanding.” I know first hand how right she is.
I asked Sharon what she missed most about daily life, other than in-same-room visits with Bob. She didn’t hesitate: “Cubs games.” Sharon and Bob love the Cubs. They used to go to Wrigley Field. In recent years, Urbandale Health Care Center would bus them to Principal Park for I-Cubs games. Happy memories.
Every picture tells a story. This one more than most.