Walnut Manor

In my last blog, I talked about how I nervous I was speaking to Barb.

I could hear her voice in the background. “Someone is calling for me?” she asked incredulously.

When she finally picked up the phone, I quickly introduced myself to her. There was so much excitement in her voice that I could feel her energy through the phone. As I asked her questions about her life before coming to SupportiveLiving.ca, her story touched my heart, reverberated through my body, and left me with goosebumps.

I felt like I was talking to a long-lost friend.

She arrived at Walnut Manor Supportive Living Residence in St. Thomas nine years ago and proceeded to tell me how her life had changed since. She felt at peace and achieved a state of independence and stability and went on to tell me how SupportiveLiving helped manage her medications and personal finances so that she could make sound choices and have the support services in place when she needed them.

Barb continued to rave about the staff and management, saying they play an integral part in helping keep her stable and happy. She surprised me by wanting to meet in person.

As I called one resident after another, my initial hesitation to speak to them disappeared and I was overcome with emotion upon hearing about where they once were and how they came to find SupportiveLiving.

I had to hear it from them. Not the newspapers, their social workers, the staff but from their lips to my ears.

Why I feared talking to them in the first place was based on predisposition. After all, in my previous experience of interviewing customers to create the content for my writing, these residents were no different.

They all were sharing a common story.

They are humans, just like you and me, with struggles, fears and obstacles to overcome.

Everyone has a story. And everyone has a need to share their story. To convey a message – intentionally or unintentionally.

Each resident has a name. A face. A life that once was. And a new life that provides them with the opportunity to keep moving forward, with support, independence and most of all – dignity.

As I listened to all their stories, I understood that we are cut from the same cloth. We bleed the same red blood. We all have a voice and need to be heard when we are in pain.

To sum it up -- we just need to be loved and accepted.

I made a promise to many of the residents who asked me over the phone. To get off at each stop and meet them in person. Not just listen and take their word for it.

But to go and witness it for myself…

#housing #mentalhealth #supportiveliving #transformation


Written by Shama Chaudhry, Director of Communications, SupportiveLiving.ca

You can access the audio version of this blog