The power of community

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By Nancy Edwards

Last week’s efforts by the town and county working together to ensure residents were safe on the road and taken care of by offering emergency shelters for those without power (one shelter even welcomed pets), and Meals on Wheels making direct contact with the elderly so that no one would go hungry, prove that our local area cares about its citizens. No wonder Fishers has been named one of the best communities in which to live, and one of the friendliest as well.

Just recently, a very special elderly neighbor who lived next door passed away. I will never forget her generosity, from spraying the wasp nest I hadn’t yet noticed above my front door to helping me struggle with raking the abundant leaves in my yard. She gave me her large, sturdy collapsible bag and told me I could keep it as long as I wanted to.

Phyllis had cancer. I once asked if I could do anything for her; she told me her needs were being met. The last few times I spoke with her, she told me the chemo was working and she felt better. Then one day I didn’t see her any more. No sign of her outside walking her dogs or working in her yard. I tried assuring myself that she was not feeling well and was temporarily staying with relatives. This was true, for a while.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a lady bent over in Phyllis’s yard, raking her leaves. I said “hello” hoping for a miracle, hoping it was Phyllis and that she was back and doing well. As soon as I saw the person was a different neighbor, my heart sank. My heart beat fast for the news I dreaded to hear: Phyllis had passed away several days ago.

Each day I saw Phyllis when she had cancer, I kept thinking I wanted to do something to cheer her up; I just didn’t know what to do. Yet whenever I entered my door, my mind switched to work, things I needed to do or my own personal problems.

Phyllis died with no reciprocation from my part. I regret that. I regret not making the effort to know my other neighbors. I regret not paying more attention to those in need.

Making a positive difference in people’s life does not have to mean sacrificing hours a day. It can mean making a meal for them, stopping by to chat if they’re lonely or taking them out to the movies. Small acts are remembered in great ways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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