When I arrived at the Mansion Friday evening to call the weekly Bingo game with Maria, Sylvie was waiting for me. Sylvie is deeply religious, and never plays games of any kind. But she was clearly waiting to talk to me, as she sometimes does.
I asked her what she wanted to show me, and she reached into one of her tote bags for a red envelope, and opened and took out a worn photograph. It was of a pair of hands, one clutching the other, with a gold wedding band.
"Whose hands are these?," I asked Sylvie. "They are my mother's,"she said. "They were taken the day she died in 2015, and I wanted you to see them." I was profoundly touched by Sylvie's gesture, and her desire for me to share something so important to her, something she carries around with her all of the time.
The residents often look backward on loss, all of them have lost people dear to them and close to them – beloved friends, relatives, parents, spouses, even children. Loss is so familiar to them, and sometimes they need to share these moments of loss.
I was deeply moved that Sylvia had taken the trouble to wait for me Friday and show me this photo, which she treasures and carries with her. I am glad to be able to share it with you.
I asked Sylvie if I could take a short video of her talking about her very beloved Mother's hands, and she said of course. Sylvie and I have a special connection. She also asked me for envelopes so she can try to answer the many people sending her letters.
You can write to Sylvia c/o The Mansion, 11 S. Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.
-The Mansion work depends on your support. If you care to help, please send your donations and contributions to Jon Katz, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816, or via Paypal, firstname.lastname@example.org.
And thanks. There are many small acts of great kindness to commit. And much good to do.