At the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 we were in full grief mode at Hope & A Future. Much loved residents, Joanna Overn, Bettye Barnes and Ed Clapp’s earthly lives ended here–leaving behind grieving but grateful people in the Hope & A Future Family of Friends. We remain grateful to have had each of these people in our lives and sad to end our earthly time together. In our hearts we know that although death ends an earthly life, it does not end relationships–those live on in our hearts and minds.
On a personal note, my Mother and her brother, my much loved Uncle also died during that time frame. So, I felt like I started the year in a bit of a daze. Yet, because of the beauty of community we have grieved and enjoyed memories and life lessons together–treasuring life and each other all the more.
Interestingly, earlier in the year I had agreed to speak at an International Life, Death and Bereavement Conference. I had no idea what I would be going through before attending that conference! My talk was called Flourishing until we Say Goodbye. And the very happy truth is that people really do flourish until they say good-bye here. Much has been written about research that points out that most middle aged people fear being admitted to a long term care facility more than they fear death. There is reason for concern in many settings. But I will tell you that many of our residents and their families have looked at their Hope & A Future years as some of the best years of their life. Surrounded by love, fun, creativity, beauty, music, good food, friends and a healthy growing environment is a blessing for everyone involved. I can tell you that those we have cared for have taught us many important lessons and enriched my life. Staff, residents and our family and friends all have opportunity to flourish here!
I genuinely hope that all of you that volunteer your time and resources for Hope & A Future know what an integral part of the whole you are here! We would not have come this far with our pioneering approach without you! And we pray you enjoy that same sense of flourishing as you help us support others while we bring a new model of care into our world! We are changed and encouraged by all of you! And together we are bringing an exciting change and care model into our world! A model where family is at the center and everyone helps while they are being helped!
Because the TIIN model is a pioneering approach, we often come up against rules and laws that were written without envisioning the fact that they would someday slow the progress of bringing the generations together. We greatly appreciate all of the prayers and support coming from so many of you as we work through these bumps in the road. This has been a long journey, but we are paving a way that will make Therapeutic Interactive Intergenerational Neighborhood (TIIN) living easier for others in the future. We will all benefit in great ways from neighborhoods that produce–Generations Of Purpose!
May God Bless all of us as we learn to walk our journeys together! I pray that all of you will experience the love of Jesus and community this Christmas Season and throughout the New Year!