We lost a good friend this week. As the world bid farewell to 2013, we parted ways with Diane, who touched our lives at Rauch on and off for the past fifty years.
Diane received Rauch preschool services, went on to attend school at Mt. Tabor, and later was a participating artist at Rauch's "A Place to Create" art studio, an attendee of our Adult Developmental Activities program, and one of the first residents in our housing at Hawthorn Glen. Although she was born with Down Syndrome, Diane's parents, who loved her unconditionally, worked to ensure that her life and activities were happy and meaningful, including Girl Scouts and voice lessons.
Today, at Diane's service, many of our staff shared their sweet memories of her. I'm always proud to work with them, but today I was especially so in hearing the true affection they felt for her. Terri, our Director of Supported Living, recounted the following story for the attendees.
In late 2010, Diane moved into her new home in Hawthorn Glen. As they prepared for the transition, Sandy, our Adult Developmental Activities director, turned to Terri and said, "Let me tell you something. There are two things you need to know to keep Diane happy. She likes her tea parties, and she needs her coffee in bed." Terri was on board with the tea parties, but drinking a hot beverage in bed had her a little scared. Devoted to ensuring Diane's comfortable transition to her new home, however, she explained this need to her staff and hoped that they could eventually help Diane become less dependent on the habit.
Terri stopped by to check on Diane the first morning she was at her new home, and was shocked to see Diane at the kitchen table, having coffee with her roommate Marva. Worried, her first reaction was that this was wrong; Diane was supposed to be having her coffee in bed! The staff reassured her quickly that she had wanted to join Marva for coffee.
How wonderful that even in her late 40's, a friendship like the one she had with Marva could change what's important to Diane. Marva and Diane have had very different lives, but came to consider each other "sisters" thanks to two things they had that most of us could use a little more of: love in their hearts and souls, and respect for one another.