Love After Loss

Miralea residents Jerry and Nancy Painchaud marry after meeting one another at Miralea

Many residents report feeling a renewed lease on life after moving to the vibrant Masonic Homes Kentucky. But for Jerry and Nancy Painchaud, living at Miralea Active Lifestyle Community also gave them a new lease on love. Last year, the couple became the first to be married while living in the community.

Their journey to one another began in 2012, when Miralea was still under construction. Nancy Miska Sybolden and her then-husband, Bill Sybolden, were in seemingly good health when their neighbor, a Mason, introduced them to Masonic’s newest active living community, Miralea.

Though Nancy said she was hesitant to leave the patio home she dearly loved, at her husband’s urging, the pair moved into Miralea in November 2012. They lived in Miralea happily for more than three years. In 2016, Bill was diagnosed with cancer and passed away just a few weeks later in June.

“I didn’t think moving was a good idea at the time, but it turned out to be a very good idea,” said Nancy. “Sometimes I think maybe he knew that he was ill and didn’t want me to be alone.”

Jerry’s desire to move to Miralea in 2015 was a bit more urgent. His wife, Anne, had begun to show early signs of Alzheimer’s, and Jerry wanted to be in a community that would provide care as she continued to decline and also allow him to remain close by. Anne Painchaud passed away just one year after they moved into the community, in August 2016.

Not only did Anne Painchaud and Bill Sybolden both pass away in the Sam Swope Care Center within weeks of one another, they passed away in the very same room, a coincidence that is not lost on Nancy.

“Sometimes I tell Jerry that I think they both brought us together,” said Nancy.

Jerry had little time for socialization while caring for his wife, but Nancy said she would often see Jerry from her third-floor balcony, caring for Anne, and was touched by his devotion to her. Following Anne’s passing, the two began running into one another during their frequent morning swims. Nancy, having lived at Miralea for more than three years at that point, knew many residents well, and made an effort to bring Jerry into the fold. A friendship developed, and quickly blossomed into something more.

“We were both a little lonely, I think,” said Jerry. “We needed a relationship of some kind to make our life, and our stay here, more pleasant.”

Nancy said she was caught off guard by how quickly their relationship turned romantic so soon after both of them had been visited by tragedy.

“It surprised me,” she said. “That time was very sad and very happy at the same time.”

Soon, Jerry was talking about marriage. Both were “good Catholics,” he explained, and marriage—at any age—seemed like the right next step. Nancy was initially hesitant to make it official but was finally won over by Jerry’s affections. “I just never thought I would find someone who cared so much about me,” she said. “It’s so wonderful to be loved at this age.”

The pair were wed in front of immediate family on December 21, 2017 in a full, private Mass, followed by a dinner reception for their closest Miralea friends.

Though both Jerry and Nancy have lived in Louisville for nearly 50 years, they firmly believe they never would have crossed paths were it not for the wide array of activities available to them at Miralea.

“At our time in life, it’s very difficult to establish new relationships and new close friends,” said Jerry. “But living in a community like Miralea makes it so much easier.”

Today, Nancy and Jerry both enjoy good health, and take full advantage of the broad range of activities available to them both on and off campus. They particularly love Wii bowling in Miralea’s fitness center, and coffee concerts, movies and history presentations at The Bistro and more. Jerry has convinced Nancy to learn how to golf, while Nancy “is making me dance more than I ever danced before,” said Jerry.

Both are lifelong travelers, and they recently traveled to North Carolina to visit one of Jerry’s daughters, and visited Branson, Missouri. They hope to take a delayed honeymoon to Paris sometime soon. Wherever their lives take them from here, both agree they are blessed to enjoy their late-in-life love and want to live their lives to the fullest—together.

“Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow isn’t here yet, so we have to live each day and make it count,” said Nancy.