Losing those we love is the part of aging our parents didn’t tell us about

Bob Schneider
3 min readJan 20
Prom, 1970

The photo above is of me at my first love’s prom in 1970. Her name was Ginny Price. I say was, because, at 5:26 this afternoon, she passed away.

I don’t care how long we live, or how many loves we have over our lifetimes, there is something about that first love that we never forget. Being a young man was not easy for me. She was with me when my father passed away a few weeks before the above photo was taken.

I was inconsolable. I’ve never cried as hard as I did that March evening in 1970. Ginny had lost her father two years before, so she understood. She held me close as my world seemed to be falling apart. I will never forget her words as she told me to cry it out. She assured me she would be there for me, and we would get through this, come through the other side of this dark moment, and laugh again.

It was the first time anyone had used the word we as two people, facing life’s turmoil. She kept her promise.

It was a long time before I smiled again. In the photo above, my smile was forced. My grieving my father was hard but Ginny helped me through it all. For her, the Spring dance was important. She told me that if I didn’t feel like going, it was OK. I wanted her to enjoy this midwestern rite of passage, so we went to the dance.

That is the way Ginny was. She was willing to sacrifice for others. That is a quality that is becoming rare.

I went to California, and she stayed in the Midwest. We drifted apart, but a few years ago, we connected again via Facebook. Ginny was always my cheerleader. Life had taken me through many relationships, as it had done with her. Despite the time and the distance between us, there was still a bond of caring that didn’t falter.

Five years ago, she had cancer, and it was caught early, and we thought she had beaten the odds. A short time ago, the disease came back with a vengeance, and tonight took her from us. A sweet, generous, kind, and funny light has left the world. Her gentle hand was there when I needed it most.

She was like that for many people. If you were her friend, you could count on her. She was hard-working, intelligent, and had the biggest heart of anyone I have known.

Like the rest of life, aging is not easy. When I was a kid, there was a song “Only the Strong Survive,” written and sung by Jerry Butler. I will post a link at the end of this article. I recall the song when it came out in 1968. It was a hit on the Billboard Charts of the top 100 songs. I liked the tune and the lyrics. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the words even more. I didn’t know the meaning of the lyrics when I was 18, but I sure know them at age 72.

Rest well, Ginny. You were loved by so many, and especially by me.

Only the Strong Survive.

Bob Schneider

Ex Washington Public Affairs/PR Hack, for trade, foreign policy, int'l business operations, & defense. Blogger @ ChicagoNow Art collector and Philanthropist