From the moment Linda met Jeff Loser, he was “the guy” for her. Linda moved into Jeff’s neighborhood in Elizabethtown when he was 16 and she was 14. As Jeff walked his dog past the new girl on the block sitting on the corner, Linda’s brother said, “There’s a guy for you.”
Her brother was right. After their first date to the movies to see “Summer Place,” Linda and Jeff’s fate was sealed. Their 57-year marriage included three children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. There was lots of love and laughter, and despite some struggles toward the end, “She always knew I cared,” Jeff said, even through her time on Masonic Village Hospice.
He retired in 2005 after selling insurance for 30 years, and in 2008, Linda retired as office manager from the Elizabethtown Borough. They looked forward to enjoying their retirement.
“We were always together, so I didn’t pick up on the signs of what was going on,” Jeff said.
He became concerned when he noticed she got a book at the library and said she was done reading it within a day. Jeff took her back to the library, and she borrowed three books. Within a day, she said she was done with all three. He asked her how that was possible, and she said she only read the first and last chapters, something completely out of character for her.
“Signs like that,” he said. “She had a lot of anxiety, too. I wasn’t getting any sleep.”
Linda was eventually diagnosed with early stage dementia, although Jeff never shared the official diagnosis with her since he didn’t feel she needed to know. Jeff enrolled her in an adult day program to provide him with some relief, as he had some health issues of his own. As her condition progressed and she began falling, Jeff knew she needed more care.
Both his parents lived at Masonic Village at Elizabethtown before passing away. Jeff inquired about moving Linda into one of the memory support neighborhoods. It was hard to share the news with Linda, but through his tears, she accepted the change.
“I know you love me, and you’ll do what’s best for me,” she said to Jeff.
“I missed her, but because I knew the quality of care she was getting, it was easier for me to accept,” Jeff said. “In seven years, I only missed a handful of days visiting her.”
In 2020, Linda began experiencing a lot of pain. One of the nurses, Todd Pawuk, mentioned his wife, Amber, worked for Masonic Village Hospice, and recommended they do an evaluation. Jeff’s first contact with Hospice was a 45-minute conversation as they determined the best course of action. Linda was placed on Hospice and temporarily discharged, before being placed on it again.
“The same nurses still took care of her, but the hospice care was more concentrated,” Jeff said. “They told me what was going on and kept me informed. The night before she passed, they told me I’d better get out to see her. When she passed, it was almost easier for me than if it had happened sooner because she had been sick for so long.”
Jeff knew his parents received great care at Masonic Village, and it was no different for his wife.
“I still say Linda knew me to the end,” he said. “People used to say to me, ‘I don’t know how you do it. You’re a hero.’ I wasn’t. She was. She never complained.
“I have nothing but praise for Masonic Village Hospice. I got to know the staff, and they were all great. I have the highest regard for someone doing that kind of work. Linda got the best care, and I wouldn’t have sent her anywhere else.”