Hazen is the most determined person I've ever met.
Hazen told me at one point in his life he wanted a job at a furniture factory designing furniture. He went to the main boss to ask for a job only to be told there were no openings. For the next 2 weeks he sat outside the boss's office, taking out the trash, talking to anyone passing by, and just to let the boss know he wasn't going to give up.
He finally did get a job there and had to spend a lot of time in the library learning how to design furniture. We were paint contractors for a few years, then we moved into an apartment complex. Hazen's theory was, well we're painters, we live here, why can't we do the painting? Here we go again, going to the boss's office everyday, "accidently" seeing the boss on the property, this time with me in tow. Finally the boss let us know he wasn't happy with the painters they had and he'd give us a try.
It worked out fine, we liked living where we worked, and we found the other painters a smaller complex to paint which they were glad about.
After Hazen's 3rd stroke I wanted to get him away from living in a townhouse with stairs, because of his paralysis. We found a cape-cod-style home with additions, courtesy of the previous owner. Well that was like letting a kid lose in a candy store. Hazen was a "house husband" and I worked out of the house.
I'd come home to the smell of fresh paint, only to find out the gallon of paint we bought a few days earlier was now the new color of the kitchen, then the bathroom. In the cooler weather, I'd dress him in light color t-shirts and shorts. Good thing! One day I came home and the back of his shirt was all dirty, like dirt-from- the-ground dirt. I followed him out thru the sunroom and then outside. Lo and behold, there's the ladder from the basement leaning against the side of the sunroom.
Stepping back I could see a broom on the roof of the sunroom.
"What is going on here, did you fall off the ladder while you were on the roof doing something?'
Oh no, he was cleaning the gutters but didn't fall off the ladder. Needless to say the next day we bought a gutter cleaner with an extension that you hook to the outside water hose. By the way, it can be a lot of fun on a very hot summer day.
I finally weaseled it out of him how his shirt got so dirty. He figured since he had the ladder out he may as well trim the big maple tree next to the sunroom, and that's when he lost his footing and fell. Of course the ladder went back into the basement, and a pair of heavy-duty long tree shears were bought.
He was always determined to do what he set out to do. During this time also, he and I danced a lot to our favorite songs and sang. We listened to the music LOUD, thankfully no neighbors complained, but we would just have the best time. Even with his paralysis he was a better dancer than me, and I had taken dancing lessons when I was younger.
He taught me some of the dances he knew when he was in high school, and was way better at doing Chubby Checkers "The Stroll", an easy dance if your feet don't get tangled up like mine did.
What I guess I'm trying to say: determination is everything. He had it more than anyone I've ever known. Surviving 3 strokes, heart attack, quad-bypass surgery, and a pacemaker but he still wanted to live life and do things he wanted to do. He didn't sit and watch TV--unless it was boxing. He never once felt sorry for himself If he had trouble doing something, he'd ask for help, but he kept on going right up until the end. Even that last day, he was determined to wait until I got home from the store so he could kiss me goodbye forever.
Linda meek is the co-author of "Giving Up Is Not an Option." Her husband Hazen, who began the memoir that describes the challenges and hope that can be found in the face of terminal illness, proves that the only time you truly lose is when you give up hope.
When Linda Pierson first met Hazen Meeks at an amusement park, it was love at first sight. As Linda and Hazen began dating and eventually married, she had no idea of the challenges that would await both of them in the coming years. He suffered two strokes considered 'reversible' through physical therapy and a change of medicine. But just two years later, he suffered another stroke that robbed him of his ability to walk and lead a normal life. Linda details how he set out to prove the impossible was possible and surprised everyone around him by accomplishing more than anyone ever believed he could. (Barnes and Nobel Overview)
"Giving Up Is Not an Option"
by Hazen Meek and Linda Pierson Meek