Lifetime of love behind Charlotte County couple’s photo shoot

A precious photo shoot has lasting meaning for a Charlotte County couple.

Herschel Workman recently took his ill wife Donna to Englewood Beach one last time to fulfill her wish to be on the sand again.

Donna has cortical atrophy, a terminal form of Alzheimer’s. The disease has worn away her memory for a decade, but after three decades of marriage, nothing could wear away Herschel’s love for his wife.

“It doesn’t go away,” an emotional Herschel said.

Donna couldn’t tell her husband whether she wanted to go to the beach, but he knew. Beach dates were their thing.

“We walked rocky beaches in Maine or Nova Scotia or sandy beaches in Carolina or Florida or Hawaii or California,” he said.

Donna is a patient at Tidewell Hospice, whose staff arranged this beach day for the lovebirds through their Wish program.

“It was exciting for me to see her floating again in the water, pushing her back up on the beach,” Herschel said.

You can see the love for her in his smile.

“She’s my strength,” Herschel said.

And he uses that strength to keep doing the work he must do for his Donna.

He’s grateful to God he got to bring his girl on just one more beach date.

“Acting on love is … it’s an enduring thing … love is tough … love is never-ending,” he said.

Herschel said he knows being a caregiver is tough. It took him time to find resources to help his wife. The services he used are linked below, as is the Tidewell Hospice Wish program.

We spoke via Zoom with Debbie Mason of Tidewell Hospice to learn more about the programs there. Through the Tidewell Foundation, Mason explained they are able to raise money for the experiences families get to have.

“It’s granting a wish to a family for something they can’t do themselves, or maybe economically can’t afford themselves,” Mason said.

RESOURCES:

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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