Florence passed away last week.  Although hanging around nursing homes lends itself to being around those ready to transition, the sense of loss that emerges can still surprise me.

100 years old, she was a strong woman, a former phys-ed instructor, with a musicians soul.  She played the one song that remained a part of her active memory the day we launched Lavender Ladies, and required us, with her stern look, to applaud after each rendition.

The humor, the connection, the love and the often times gut busting laughter that accompanies my visits to United Helpers Nursing Home are sometimes hard to describe.  I know I would have a hard time understanding how someone could love, really love spending time this way if I were not doing it myself!

How might I engage, inspire, enlist others to do the same?  This is not some charitable contribution I’m talking about.  This is life affirming, love enhancing, self-reflective, coming of age stuff!

I invite you to spend time with an elder and have no agenda, no expectations of what might transpire.  Simply allow yourself the freedom to sit and be.  Let the profound influence of connection wash over you.  As a headline in a Gannett News Service today reports “Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Brings Some Couples Closer”, you can create closeness with your aging friends and relatives.

Florence will be missed, for sure, however the fond memories many of us carry and share can spread to others and take on a life of their own.

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