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  • Tim and Nina Ayers – To Have and To Hold

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For Tim Ayers, you should always take a risk regarding matters of the heart! Following this advice led to a beautiful 57-year relationship with the love of his life, Nina. As he honors her memory, Tim recalled how their chance encounter resulted in the best decision he ever made.

Tim had no way of predicting the incredible love story ahead when he first saw Nina reading outside the Market Street YMCA in 1963. Tim recalls it was love at first sight, and no risk was too high to meet her. He just had to convince the receptionist, Mrs. G., to give him Nina’s number. Mrs. G. hesitated at first, but Tim assured her his motives were honorable. In fact, he fully intended to marry Nina one day!

Thankfully, his persuasive tactic worked, and the couple’s first phone call lasted over three hours. The high schoolers realized quickly they had found something special in one another. From that moment on, Tim committed to showing Nina how much he loved her at every opportunity. A few years later, he followed through on his declaration to Mrs. G. Standing before family and friends, the couple exchanged vows at St. Pius Church in Louisville. Tim promised to honor, love, and cherish Nina always.

It was a promise he was determined to keep with each passing day of their 57 years together. Throughout their marriage, their partnership remained a priority. They never grew tired of holding hands or spending quality time together. As their family expanded, careers changed, and life unfolded, they both enjoyed finding new ways to show one another their love. Tim read aloud to Nina while she cooked or relaxed in the tub. Later, he began tucking her in each night with a kiss and “I love you” before bed. Nina encouraged Tim to pursue his passions, including law school and becoming an ordained deacon. “I always say she not only saved my life,” said Tim, “she made my life worth living.”

Together, they faced each challenge with humor, love, and support. During Nina’s difficult battle with breast cancer, the couple leaned on one another through 40 rounds of chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and 30 radiation appointments. While the treatment had taken its toll on Tim and the usually upbeat Nina, they rejoiced when three doctors declared her cancer free. After Nina rang the bell, signaling she’d beaten the disease in January 2020, the couple returned home hand-in-hand, resilient and ready to move forward.

The pair were heartbroken when they learned her cancer had resurfaced just a few weeks later. When they realized their time was limited, Tim was determined to use what remained to focus on loving Nina. He called Hosparus Health for support and services. He felt relief when the team arrived with everything necessary to keep Nina comfortable at home, where Tim could be by her side.

“Hosparus was there when I needed them most, and I will be forever grateful,” he recalled. “They took care of everything, which allowed me to focus on being a husband and a father.”

As hard as it was to let her go, Tim knew they were getting close to the final chapter of their great love story. He had witnessed Nina fight valiantly for so long, and he wanted his love to be at peace. Tim lovingly assured his wife she didn’t have to continue holding on for his sake.

He whispered, “If you are ready to go home to God, I will be fine. Remember, I have loved you from the very first day we met. And I will always love you.”

Tim recalls Nina was unresponsive for days when her eyes fluttered open and met his. In a quiet voice, she said, “Darling, I love you too.”
He knew she was saying goodbye. Nina passed away peacefully the next day, with Tim by her side. One last time, he tucked in the love of his life and kissed her good night.

It was an honor for Hosparus Health to be part of Tim and Nina’s love story.

For 45 years, our mission has been to provide every patient and family facing serious illness with access to support and services. Consider donating today to help families focus on what matters most – creating more memories with their loved ones. TEXT 23MEMDAY1 to 41444, or click here to donate.

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