The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life


by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, April 17, 2017
Featured Image

For 62 years, Lola Gillebaard and Hendrik Cornelis Gillebaard Sr have loved and laughed and fought and cried through all her illnesses, the birth of four HUGE boys, the death of a daughter-law, the death of far too many businesses, and the sale of their beloved home.

In all of these circumstances, I have watched my dear friend Lola stumble—often literally with a leg and foot damaged at birth. She might get down, wallow in depression for awhile but then, it is always her ability to “look for the funny” that allows her to meet a new day.

With dogged determination, she has pulled herself with her walker to get on a stationary bike and strengthen her leg. With equal determination, she has prodded Hank to put on his sport jacket and go down to the dances at the assisted living center. And almost always—but not every time—helped him through the fog that comes with ever-increasing dementia.

It was a shock to get a call from her daughter-in-law on the very day Bill and I were to go to support her at a talent show for the local Rotary Club. Lola (age 87) had worked on her act for weeks, also trying to help first-born son, Hank, Jr in what would be his first attempt at being a stand-up comedian.

“Hank just fell over at 3am after getting Lola her walker. He died instantly.”

Within a few hours I was sitting beside her. She described the scene and then laughed at the fact that she was in the toilet and couldn’t easily get up. “It was the best thing,” she said over and over again. Indeed, Hank did not have to suffer the indignity that this horrid Alzheimer’s serves up.

Within two days, Lola and two of her boys were writing the obituary. Lola said they laughed all the way through it… just as he and she would want.

Consider these lines: “No foulplay is suspected at this time. His body was found wearing the same clothes he wore when he was born.”(Yes, Hank liked to sleep in the all-together.)

“He is survived by his highly-acclaimed comedic wife, Lola and their four (known) sons."He loved the “f” word… Flying… Hendrik is also survived by his brain, as it was his wish for it to be donated to science. ..a desire he felt was a ‘no brainer.’”

I asked Lola for her permission to write this. The empty loss of a life partner will never be overcome with humor. But certainly, the ability to interject laughter offers some balm to the soul.

I think it also keeps us sane.


Share This Post

Like this post? Please share it!

< Back to All Posts


Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

View all posts by Eileen

Subscribe to My Blog!

Like My Blog?

Please share it!

Recents Posts




Patriots Social Media Communication Honoring Veterans Education Sustainability Meetings Stress ecology Dogs Sleeping Leadership Skills Road Trip Breathe Employee Attitude Twas The Night Before Christmas USAA Art John Blumberg More Fun at Work resiliency angels earthquakes teams Family Arlington Cemetary resilient organizations employees Human Interaction Breath Suddenly Single employee retention Book Reviews Women Seder Eve Ownership Positive Brain Repatterning Radical Resiliency preresilience Option B Speaking Sales Depression Spirit Travel New Year resolutions Girls Labor Day U.S.A.A. Charity Your Resiliency GPS Spelling Bee work life balance Disruption Vacation holidays Bullying Writing Exercise Siblings Corporate Culture Yoga Energizing Others Strangers St. Patrick's Day Henry VIII Reshaping the Brain Persuasion Mother's Day Multi-tasking Leaders Open Doors Book Hurricane Irma Survive Boston Marathon Postive Work Environment Voting Office Celebrations Intentions Adam Grant Fun Work Environment Idea Adventure WASP Sexual Harassment Learned Optimism Diversity coaching Play Kindness Back To School Content Generation Humor stuck Sheryl Sandberg goals Gifts From The Mountain Guns Married creativity John Havlik Interview Empathy cancer Aging Superbowl Change Career Advice resilience Networking Loss Alzheimer's Energy Hurricane Harvey Branding Disrupt Talk Ain't Cheap Book Children Building Resilience Jewish Nursing conscience Bill Treasurer e-mail The Last Jedi Tornadoes in Texas Soft Skills gratitude Marriage Motivating Others waiting Burnout Napping LGBTQ Christmas Emotional Intelligence Deloitte Humanity Feedback Faith Climate Change servant leadership Laughter Walk For Hunger Environtment Adaptability love Memorial Day Optimism customer service resilient leaders women in leadership Energizing Volunteer Animals Thanksgiving Politics Happiness Engaged Workers Technology Ecotourism Trust civil discourse Listening Divorce Mark Scharenbroich Relationships