Tawnya and Chris Wilkinson

A Lesson in Missed Opportunity

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Tawnya and Chris Wilkinson are passionate about fitness and about helping others live better lives. Initially working in the area of personal training and wellness coaching, they began dreaming of launching their own business and found elder care to be a perfect fit for them. They started their award-winning Nurse Next Door franchise in 2008, providing in-home care and support for seniors in Cowichan, Nanaimo, Parksville and surrounding communities. “Make a difference in the lives of others” and “admire people” are the core values that guide them in their business and personal lives.

Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.

– William Arthur Ward

Perhaps you saw in one of our previous articles about how Nurse Next Door’s Dream On Seniors Wish Foundation aims to make the dreams of elder seniors come true. We even had the opportunity to make one come true a few months back which was incredibly fulfilling.

This story was supposed to be about another recent dream come true. But it’s not. It’s a sad story from this past week that was crushing. Here’s why…

We connected with a number of individual seniors and their spouses in the fall and were able to gather several dreams of elder seniors living in care homes. They are simple dreams. So simple in fact that we were shocked … going swimming again for the first time in a long time … having a Scotch during Happy Hour with family while watching a hockey game at home … going out for dinner with a spouse … getting out of the nursing home for an outing with a spouse. These dreams are so simple to achieve that we wondered if anyone had ever thought of asking their loved ones about such simple wishes and desires before!

We were quite excited last week to follow up with these individuals to see who we could help next. There were several dreamers we were really excited to help, but two special ladies as much as anybody: a lady who just wanted to enjoy Happy Hour with a Scotch and watch hockey with her family, and another sweet lady who just wanted to go back to her previous retirement community and have lunch with some friends she hadn’t seen in a long time.

But when we went to speak with them about putting the plans together, we were told that we couldn’t because they had both recently died. Two simple dreams that would have made their year. Can’t do it now. They’re gone.

At once we felt empty. Sad. Guilty. Defeated. We stewed over it for days. Talked about it. Shared the story a few times with close friends.

So here’s what comes out of this … although we are crushed that we were just a little too late to help those two wonderful ladies, we have committed to moving forward with more urgency on the dreamers we have recently connected with. We are putting plans together right now to help them achieve their dreams. We are also asking families to step up and learn about what their loved ones want to do that they have only ever dreamed about until now.

The lesson here for all of us? Stop putting off the important stuff that you know in your heart you want to accomplish. Write down the things that if you didn’t do before you died, your life wouldn’t have been complete. And think about the fulfillment that comes from making the lives of others better. Don’t give regret any more space to grow. Start taking the first steps toward your important goals and dreams right now.

And who knows – maybe we’ll get to help you with another one of your dreams down the road.


Tawnya and Chris Wilkinson
Nurse Next Door
Home Care Services
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  1. Hi Dawn!

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful entry! I am incredibly pleased to hear your plan…as a matter of fact you have made my afternoon! 🙂

    If there’s anything we might be able to help with, let me know!

    All the best!

  2. Thank you for this heart wrenching reminder. And also for caring enough to have found their dream out in the first place, and for making such a loving commitment to fulfill the simple dreams of the people you can help.
    That is awesome!
    I am sure that just being able to talk about their dreams is a huge gift for the people you are connecting with. So often for elders it is just about managing their living needs, there is no one going deeper with them.
    I am going to heed your advice and ask my Mom what she dreams of doing…and then make sure we arrange that joyful experience for her.
    Best, Dawn Menard

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