Eghosa Asemota - GG Program Assistant

“I See Her In Them” February 13, 2014

On January 17th, I had the honor of joining the Robert F. Kennedy High School chapter for a makeover at Margaret Tietz Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Jamaica, NY.

I noticed one woman admiring her freshly painted crimson nails as they dried. I walked over and gave her a compliment on her manicure. Grinning, she replied, “I love them” and while looking at the volunteer who just painted her nails as she tightened a vial of top coat, she commented, “I love this”.

Her name was Clareece.

After a few minutes of conversation, I learned that she was never married, had no children and that her relatives lived in Florida and rarely called throughout the year. I felt for her as I heard the evident sadness in her voice. Glancing down at her nails again, she said, “I always get them painted red, you know. My friend loved the color red. She passed away last month. She was 98.”

Clareece began to tell me about her friend Eliza. She showed me a beaded bracelet on her left arm with Eliza’s name on it and shared that Eliza had one with her name on it as well. Clareece described her as her best friend and stated that she had a heart of gold. Eliza, she explained, was the type of woman that would do a “somersault just to see you smile on a bad day”. Clareece enthusiastically shared how Eliza made the blank walls at Margaret Tietz seem lively. Every morning, when Eliza was wheeled into the recreation room and saw Clareece, she’d greet her with a loud “Darling!” from across the room. In between each story, Clareece commented on how much she missed hearing Eliza’s laughter.

I shared my condolences and reflected on my closest friends and how I’d I feel if I ever lost them. With a reassuring smile on her face, she glanced over at the volunteers who were packing their supplies back into their GG tote bag and made a comment that brought me to tears: “I see her in them.”

- Eghosa Asemota, Program Assistant

Rachel Doyle