Lola and her husband, ”Fabio”, just moved to The Residences of Sherman Plaza in July. Their daughter and her family (including two granddaughters) live just a few blocks away. If I could guess, Lola and Fabio are probably in their late 60s, early 70s.
Lola and Fabio had just settled into a routine here in town. They’d met many of their neighbors, identified their favorite restaurants and places to shop, memorized their granddaughters’ school schedules and even watched the downtown tree-lighting ceremony from the comfort of their living room window. After their move from the northern Illinois suburbs, life had just gotten back to feeling normal...
…but Fabio felt unusually tired and out of breath. Walking the dog around the corner was exhausting, as was bending down just to attach her leash. Something wasn’t right, so Fabio went to the doctor. A few days later, the week of Thanksgiving -- he and Lola learned Fabio has stomach cancer.
For most of his life, Fabio’s been in good health – and good spirits – so this diagnosis shook the entire family. Immediately, Fabio connected with the Kellogg Cancer Center at Evanston Hospital and is currently receiving treatment.
In the meantime, Lola’s been trying to put on a brave face, but just before Christmas, as she walked to a local hair salon, she let down her guard for a few moments…
In her words:
Last week I had an appointment to get rid of ‘grays' at Ergo Salon.
Making the short walk over in the bitter cold, I realized it was the first time I had been away by myself since [my husband’s] diagnosis. I got all weepy but tried in vain to get control before walking into the salon. I have been priding myself in not breaking down! Sheri was waiting for me and immediately knew something was not right. Upon questioning me, I broke down again and she immediately knew it had to be something to do with my husband. I confessed and she said some very encouraging words and shared with me her experiences with her Dad who had passed away from Cancer several years ago.
OK, so now I've calmed down and she puts the goop on and goes to clean up. I'm just sitting there thinking about the very personal information she's just shared when she returns and tells me to stand up. She then gives me a big hug and asks me to step over to the manicure station as she has made arrangements (free of charge and a Christmas present from her to me) to get my nails done. Of course, I'm bawling again. NO ONE has ever done anything so special for me. I am so used to paying for services…! What a caring thing to do and such a nice group of employees.
I wanted to let Sheri and the manicurist know how deeply touched I am and how good it was to look down on Christmas Eve and Christmas day and see nice-looking hands and nails. My granddaughters even noticed my hands!
When you think about it, hands play such an important part in our everyday life and I'm hoping that my hands are part of [my husband’s] comfort and healing process.
…I do think Ergo and its employees should be recognized for being so comforting and caring during their hectic and busy schedule.
After reading Lola’s email, I called Ergo Salon & Spa and asked to speak to Sheri. When she came to the phone, I asked if she’d mind if I published her name in my column.
“I don’t mind,” Sheri said. “But just call me Sheri from Ergo Salon.”
I wanted to know if she realized how much her kindness had meant to Lola.
“I lost my dad to cancer,” Sheri said. “We went through those same feelings. When somebody’s like that…you can’t help but…just doing that helps. I know.”
“It meant the world to Lola, “ I explained. “She wants to publicly thank you and the Ergo staff for being so compassionate.”
“That woman is pure joy,” she said, “but I would do it again…for anybody,” Sheri explained. “It’s not an easy thing to go through…for the patient or their loved ones. But it’s not hard to be there for people.”
And so, to Sheri and the entire staff at Ergo Salon & Spa – and to everyone who goes out of their way when they sense someone’s hurting – Cheers to you. The comfort you bring to the lives of others does not go unnoticed.
And to Fabio and Lola -- May 2014 bring improved health and many more examples of kindness and support. Welcome to your new home. We’re so glad you’re here.