Pat and Ron Potter-Efron.
Perhaps the single most important thing you might want to know about the two of us is that we have been married for 56 years as of July, 2021. That means we've gone through over twenty thousand days together. Our marriage has survived and thrived through the births of our three children (Cindy, Jenny and Joshua), career transformations, unfortunate excursions into alcohol and drug misuse, Pat's serious heart attack 25 years ago, and most of the usual ups and downs of all relationships. But neither of us were prepared for the time when Pat began having trouble completing her paperwork at our mental health clinic, forgetting her appointments, even occasionally losing track of what she was saying or doing. It took several months more before she received the diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia.
Lewy Body Dementia has changed many details of our relationship. For example, Ron now does all the cooking and baking. But these details don't make a marriage work. Fortunately, we are still deeply in love and able to communicate that feeling to each other. Our love has helped us take this Lewy Body journey together as just another chapter in a decades long shared adventure story.
I am a retired counselor and still a voter but no longer a driver since my Lewy Body diagnosis. I have always lived in country surroundings, currently a seven acre farm setting, with one horse, two dogs -- a collie/golden retriever mix named Levi who is about age 8 --and a chow chow, Franklin -- age 11, and a willingly adopted black cat of several years. We are all a family in our little house.
Both Ron and I were Merit scholars and met at a picture taken at Macalester college. My mom was a working mom at St. Paul in social work and later worked in adoption and Red Cross programs. My Dad started at a school for the blind at age 5 or 6, but he talked his parents into having him and his brother Bill schooled locally in St. Cloud, Minnesota when Bill was also sent to the school for the blind. My father was a brilliant man with several college degrees and was the first legally blind person to run the Minnesota State Services for the Blind. At age 14 I began reading college texts for blind students for the program there, where later I hired on to help run the library of books for the blind. My father's brother Bill ran a hospital program for the blind in Northern Minnesota.
I've always had dogs and Ron is wonderful with all animals. We let our animals know that we are all part of the same family. Ron and I have a deep love for each other, our children and their families, and those who are our friends. We both love learning (and, now, grand-parenting). And we both love rocks, rock collecting, and encouraging each other.
I am a mostly retired counselor who specialized in anger management and domestic violence offender treatment. I've authored several books, the most well-known of which are Angry All the Time; Letting Go of Shame; and Letting Go of Anger (the latter two co-authored with Pat). I have a Master's degree in Social Work and a Ph.D in sociology.
I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. I come from a not very devout Jewish family. Sadly, my mother died when I was 9 and my father when I was 18. However, I never had to rely only upon myself; I have an identical twin brother, Don Efron, also a retired social worker and journal developer, and he and I were constant companions throughout childhood and adolescence. I also have two older brothers: Art Efron, a retired Literature professor and journal writer, and Brad Efron, the discoverer/creator of the "bootstrap" theory that revolutionized statistical probability mathematics. We four brothers have stayed well connected since our father's passing, for which I am grateful.
Perhaps because of my early losses, I wasn't able to recognize or share many emotions when I met Pat. She helped transform me into someone who can laugh and cry. I believe that is the single most important way my person has changed over the years.
Lastly, I love learning, writing, and doing things with Pat. This Lewy Body dialogue has allowed me to pursue all three of these activities. I also like to share my thoughts with others. Thank you, our readers, for allowing Pat and myself to share our Lewy Body lives with you.
Pat Potter-Efron has Passed Away.
Sadly, Pat died July 1, 2022, a little over four years after she received the Lewy Body Dementia diagnosis. Of course, she had many subtle symptoms long before her diagnosis, so the real course of her disease probably lasted perhaps seven or eight years. I know that contributing to this blog meant a lot to her; it helped keep her life meaningful even as her disease progressed. You may read Pat's obituary by going to the "Previous Chapters" page of the blog and clicking on Ch. 148.