Stories of Care

The Levines

Dr. Barbara Ann Levine

Barbara Ann’s mother-in-law, Julia Levine, was cared for by Calvary in 1985. Julia had been diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. After her doctor told the Levines there was nothing more that could be done medically, Ed, Julia’s son, did some research and found Calvary. Barbara Ann and Ed both felt comfortable that Julia was receiving the best possible care while they were away from her.

What are some of your favorite memories of Julia?

Julia was a typical 50s/60s homemaker, her family was the center of her life. She was intensely loyal and instilled that quality in her kids. Even as an adult Ed would call his mom every day to check on her. Julia was also a gentle soul, who believed no one should ever say anything hurtful, and she never did! Julia would relax by reading and doing crossword puzzles. She cherished family time together particularly spending time at our home just talking and relaxing.

How did you meet – was it love at first sight?

We met in the ‘70s at a church-sponsored singles event on the Upper West Side. Ed asked me out in January and we were married in May. That was 46 years ago!

What inspired you to include Calvary in your will?

We decided to include Calvary in our estate plan because of the compassionate way the Calvary staff cared for my mother-in-law. They eased her terrible pain and made it easier for us to let her go.

Recently we were reviewing our estate planning documents and we decided to revise our will to increase the amount we plan to leave to Calvary. Ed feels Calvary is a truly inspiring institution and the Hospital has made us both feel that our support matters.

How will your bequest be used?

My favorite form of entertainment is live theater: musicals and plays. As a Broadway baby, I wanted to make sure that your patients could enjoy the thrill of a musical performance which hopefully will make their last days a bit happier.

I had read about your musical therapy program in your Foresight newsletter, so I thought that would be a good place for our money to go. Your site says that musical therapy helps bring back memories. That is a good thing.

When my mom, Grace, lived in an assisted living facility in Massachusetts and her cognitive abilities were on the wane, she loved the sing-a-longs and the entertainers who came to the facility to play the piano or sing.

Do you have any additional special memories of your Calvary experience?

The Calvary staff was very sensitive. They respected Julia’s dignity. One time Calvary gave me the privacy to bathe Julia, without the fear someone would come into the room. They did a wonderful job of attending to her needs. They were always available to assist, but recognized families also need uninterrupted time alone. You want your hellos and goodbyes to be private and Calvary respected that.

The secret to our marriage

BreadThe secret to our 46-year happy marriage is to think about what makes the other person happy and not selfishly expect everything to go your way.

For example, I wanted to go out to dinner the other night. I mentioned this to Ed in the morning. He said, let’s wait until Monday after you have your mammogram (I had a lumpectomy a few years ago). He said after a good report, he could relax and enjoy dinner. I didn’t make a fuss. When I came home from the theater yesterday, he said he was willing to go out to eat. I asked him how come he changed his mind. He said that he wanted to make me happy. I said I was perfectly happy to wait until Monday to eat out.

The moral of the story is that when one person tries to make the other happy, the other person wants to make that person happy, too. Another bit of advice: When my nephew got married some 20 years ago, my advice to him was to kiss his wife at every commercial while watching tv. Both Ed and I believe that affection makes for a happy life. How can you be angry at someone when they are holding your hand or smooching you!

Recipe for rapid whole wheat bread for our Zojirushi bread machine follows.

380g water
2 Tbsp. Honey
4 1/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
3 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Tbsp. Dry Milk
2 Tsp. Salt
4 Tbsp. Vital Wheat Gluten
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
2 1/2 tsp. Active Rise Yeast

  • Add the ingredients to the baking pan in the order listed.
  • On the machine we have, we then press Course No. 10 and then press the Start button.
  • About 50 minutes into the baking, a beep sounds and then we add 1/3 cup of raisins, 1/3 cup of cut-up dried figs, 1/3 cup of cut-up prunes, 1/3 cup of sliced almonds, 1/3 cup of dried cherries or cranberries, and 1/3 cup of cut-up apricots.

Our bread is done in under 2 1/2 hours. Of course, each bread machine is different.