Man spends months writing musical tribute for dying wife

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- It's the kind of love story you only hear about in movies. A Grand Rapids man is turning years of poetry about his wife into a song.

Joan and Bob Carlson have been married for more than 50 years, often sharing their love for one another through poetry. With Joan now is hospice care, Bob is combining Joan's love of poetry and music in a tribute called "Joanie's Song."

Bob says it was love at first sight when he met his wife Joan in the early 50s.

"I'm not very sure I was very interested in my sundae. I was more interested in watching her. I decided then that she was the person that I was going to try to have for my wife someday," Bob toldĀ WXMI.

Since then, they've spent a lifetime writing poetry together. Bob has written more than a hundred poems to express his feelings for the woman he so dearly loves.

With Joan now in hospice care it's hard for the two to show how they feel about each other. There are days his wife doesn't remember or say anything at all when he visits.

"Sometimes she doesn't say anything the whole time you're going to see her," Bob said.

With the help of a Emmanuel Hospice music therapist Miranda Eden, Bob has spent months weaving the words of two poems the couple wrote together into a melody which was recorded at River City Studios.

"This is unreal. It is really. When you hear her sing the song then you understand the feelings in it. She has the ability to really make it sound so wonderful and yet show the feelings at the same time," Bob said.

He says he hopes that "Joanie's Song" will help his wife remember and hold on to how much he loves her.

"How am I possibly going to say something that means enough to her and satisfies me that I'm saying as many good things as I should about how wonderful she's been and how much assurance I want to give her that I'm going to be here and to help take care of her no matter what," he said.

"Joanie's Song" is now being put on a CD that Bob plans to share with his family. He says he played the song for Joan and that it was the first time in a long time she was excited and alert.