Holding On For Dear Life

Dan Stockman:

FORT WAYNE – Four times, doctors said Sandy Koeneman was dying. Four times, they tried to tell her husband, Richard, that this was the end.

Richard wasn’t ready to let go.

“When you love somebody so much, they’re your whole life,” Richard explains. “Without her, I’d have nothing.”

Four times, Richard asked the doctors to do everything they could to save her, and each time, they did.

By now – after all they’ve been through, after all the close calls in the last few years – you might think Richard would be prepared to say goodbye to his wife of 51 years.

But he’s not. Not at the north-side home they’ve shared for decades, not at the nursing home where she gets 24-hour care.

“When we get her home, we’ll get her up in the wheelchair every day and get her out in the backyard where there’s lots of flowers and sunshine,” Richard says over the wave-like sound of the ventilator that breathes for Sandy. “The main thing is we’ll be together all the time.”

How does he find hope in the face of such odds?

Easy – Sandy, 71, has been dying for 40 years.

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