A New Bedford Man’s Journey in Love and Life [TOWNSQUARE SUNDAY]
Like all of us, Michael Oliveira has experienced the ups and downs of life. He admits that he was in a good place during his early years. Oliveira was a successful teacher and coach in New Bedford during the 1980s and '90s and later a school liaison officer with the Juvenile Court.
In 1989, Oliveira met the love of his life, Nancy Hinkley. After Hinkley became gravely ill in 2006, Oliveira became her primary caretaker until her death in 2020.
He's written a book about his life and his 13 years as a caretaker entitled Don't Take It For Granted: The Journey Within. He joined Townsquare Sunday this week to discuss the book.
Oliveira grew up in New Bedford, attended New Bedford High School, played sports, had strong family support and graduated. He then attended Springfield College, played football and baseball there, and earned a degree.
Oliveira began a teaching and coaching career in New Bedford, and in 1989, met Hinkley. At that time, Oliveira might have described his life as almost perfect, working with students in his hometown and living with a woman he loved.
But in life, circumstances can change in an instant. Hinkley suffered a brain aneurysm in 2006 while the couple was visiting Martha's Vineyard, an illness that drastically changed both their lives.
Oliveira became Hinkley's primary caregiver while continuing his work in the school department, struggling to keep her appointments and watching her health decline over the years.
"Thank God, she gave me the strength, waking up every day with a smile on her face," Oliveira said. "Her attitude kept me going, but it was difficult and hard to include anyone else in my life."
Oliveira eventually retired from the school department to devote all his time to Hinkley. Life became more difficult when his father Guy Oliveira, a former police officer, died and his mother Virginia became ill.
Hinkley's condition continued to worsen, and she passed away in 2020. Oliveira said writing the book helped him overcome the grief of her passing.
"Love is the greatest gift we have on Earth," Oliveira said. "I've had the love from my parents, family members, Nancy of course, and my friends, and that helped to give me the strength to get through."
Townsquare Sunday is a community affairs program that airs Sundays on WBSM.
If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, email the host at firstname.lastname@example.org.