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  • Writer's pictureFrank Finamore

From Frank ... | Mar 5

Some of these columns are hard to write. Today is one of those days when I’m dreading putting my fingers to the keyboard.

Our Village community lost a beloved member, Ruth Merryman, this week. Like many of you that knew and loved Ruth, I’m shocked.

In last year’s Summer Spritz video, Ruth said, “I don’t know what I’d do without my Village!” Today, in the midst of my grief, I’m wondering what our Village will do without Ruth.

Not surprisingly, the very last phone conversation that I had with Ruth, just hours before she became suddenly ill, was about Ruth’s concern for other members. A steadfast volunteer with the Membership Committee, Ruth faithfully called several members, some daily, to check in on them. She called me, as she often did, to let me know what we, as a caring Village community, might do for those that she called. It was her way to care deeply for others.

I am so glad that when Ruth moved back to DC from Port Washington, WA that she joined our Village. She went to so many activities, joined countless committees, and even started new activities, such as the book club. She wasn’t shy at giving me advice or letting me know what could be done better. When I last left her a message, I gave her my phone number, but then said, “I don’t know why I gave that to you because you probably already have me on speed dial!”

Because Ruth also participated in our creative writing group, I feel like I was privy to a great deal of information about her life – her time in the stockyards with her father who was a veterinarian, being an ardent supporter of women’s reproductive rights at Planned Parenthood, and her decision to move back to DC to be closer to her family.

The three paragraph snippets of her life each week helped to paint a more complete picture of who she was. I treasure those as gifts that she gave to me and the other participants.

Despite my shock and grief, there’s a part of me that also feels satisfied that we, as a community, served Ruth well. She was always so thankful and appreciative of our efforts, ending every email with “Thank you for all you do for us.” My hope is that we, as a group of people that care and are there for one another, will honor Ruth’s memory by following her lead: finding interesting things to do; encouraging others to participate; reaching out to others and listening; and providing meals and companionship.

Ruth touched so many of our lives in the Village. I know there are many members and volunteers who will grieve her loss deeply. I encourage everyone to reach out to me or other members of the Village for support. Being there for one another, especially during crisis or loss, is the essence of being a community.

I don’t have any details regarding arrangements, but will pass those on just as soon as I know something. I will also gladly pass on any expressions of sympathy to her daughter, Alex. You may simply send an email or a card to the Village at PO BOX 11231, Washington, DC 20008.


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