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Nov 23, 2023

November is Family Caregiver Appreciation Month: Home Instead of Harvard, MA Profiles Mary!

Written By: Home Instead of Harvard, MA
November is Family Caregiver Appreciation Month Home Instead of Harvard, MA Profiles Mary!

As we enter this season of gratitude, our Care Professional, Mary, shares her mother’s story of a lifelong friendship for which many are thankful.

Miriam met Eleanor when they were in their twenties, young women beginning their careers and families. I’m sure neither could have imagined their friendship would last their lifetime. Mary, Miriam’s daughter, describes the closeness of their two families calling Eleanor her “aunt” and Eleanor’s husband, Stanley her “uncle”. Mary said, “We kids were really cousins to each other.”

When Miriam lost her husband at the age of 39, with four children to raise and support, Eleanor’s friendship became even more valued. Mary shares, “We celebrated birthdays together, went on vacations to the Cape, and were in each other’s weddings.” Two families, intertwined and supported by the love of friendship.

When Miriam began to show signs of dementia, Mary and her siblings were concerned that she should no longer be driving, even to church which was less than a mile away. Soon there were discussions of moving Miriam to assisted living. Miriam was not happy about any of it, but Eleanor was. Eleanor was already living in an assisted living community and was more than happy to have Miriam join her. Their studio apartments would even be across the hall from one another. Eleanor needed Miriam’s friendship and support. She had recently lost her husband and was withdrawing into loneliness and isolation. Together they could help one another.

It wasn’t long before assisted living wasn’t the right place for Miriam. A move to a skilled nursing facility’s memory unit seemed a better choice with more care available. Mary recalls, “The move was during COVID, and I had to drop my mom off at the front door with a packed suitcase. Because of the protocols, I couldn’t get her settled or help her feel more comfortable. It broke my heart just to drop her off.” Not long after, Eleanor would move into the same memory care unit. Together again, friends to the end.

In early November, Miriam became sick with COVID-19. Her illness combined with other health conditions took its toll. Mary said, “Before we knew it, she could no longer swallow or talk. It was really hard for me and my siblings.” Miriam passed on November 10. Eleanor followed two days later.

Thank you, Mary, for sharing your story and reminding us that friendships can last a lifetime, and for that, we are grateful.

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