From Frank ... Dec 3
Earlier this week, one of my friends died at only thirty-six. Karl was from Australia but I met him when we both lived in Nova Scotia. We met my very first day there when I joined a running group as a way to meet new friends. As he’d say, we instantly became “mates” because of shared interests and an appreciation for being “cheeky.” He thought he’d successfully fought off cancer, but it returned with a vengeance. Of course, I’m devastated at the loss of my cheeky Aussie friend, but also feel such appreciation for the opportunity to have known him, to have learned from him, and to have loved him as a friend.
Perhaps what is really the Village’s “secret sauce” is the friendships that form through our programs and services.
One of our Village’s founders, Elizabeth Fox, was interviewing members to be profiled in our Village News, and wrote to me that a recurring theme that she’d heard from various members was that the Village was a source of friendship. I consider Elizabeth very wise and I always reflect on whatever pearls of wisdom she might be imparting. Upon reflection of her most recent email, perhaps what is really the Village’s “secret sauce” is the friendships that form through our programs and services.
Interestingly, my friend Karl was raised in an inter-generational home, with his mother and grandparents. It was natural, therefore, that when Karl came to our home for dinner in Nova Scotia that he also became friends with my mother, whom he called Mum. Together they’d work a puzzle as I prepared dinner and when he couldn’t find a certain piece and say, “bloody hell” in exasperation, my mum would chuckle with amusement. Three years later and with her memory loss, my mother will occasionally say, “Remember Karl? He sure was funny!” think she remembers Karl because she remembers how he made her feel – included, valued, seen – things that are often elusive to older adults.
This week, we welcomed our 161st member, an increase of 31 members since the beginning of the year. Tomorrow, one of those members, Marilyn, will turn 95. We are an amazing community with rich opportunities to make friends of all ages, across generations, from different places, and with wildly difference life experiences. As I grieve Karl’s loss, that grief will be lessened a bit as I celebrate a newer friend, Marilyn.
Frank Finamore is Executive Director of the Village