When ANV volunteer Laura Stout signed up for a grocery run request, she didn’t know it would be the start of a deep friendship. Looking back now, Laura says, “I feel so lucky to have seen that email.”
Laura Stout joined ANV as a volunteer in January of 2020 after hearing Wendy speak at the Tara-Leeway Heights Civic Association meeting. Laura felt personally drawn to the idea of the village—with her own 90 year old mother living in Cape Cod, she was missing that connection and loved the idea of helping others like her mom.
Right around the same time, Gudrun joined ANV as a member. Her grown children lived out of state, but she was determined to stay in her home she just needed a bit of extra help to do so.
The pair hit it off right away. Pre-pandemic, they’d shop together–Laura saving up her shopping list so they could comb the aisles of Safeway, pushing their carts next to one another and suggesting new foods and products to try. Other times, they would just sit and visit, Gudrun showing Laura her photo albums. “l loved learning about her life, her travel, and family. We had a lot of fun together—we did a lot of laughing.”
When the pandemic hit, their bond deepened. “Both of our worlds had gotten smaller…we got very attached.” Friendships that are formed during difficult times can carve out a very special place in our hearts. Gudrun was not only a wonderful friend; she was an inspiration to Laura. Gudrun was fiercely independent and living a vibrant life as she aged. “I learned from her how I would like to be as I age. Her mind was always working—she always had music on, PBS, documentaries…” She loved animals, and was thrilled when Laura brought over foster kittens on a visit. Laura says, “I only knew her for about two years, but she felt like family.”
Sadly, Gudrun passed away in February. She had frequently shared with the ANV office how appreciative she was to have Laura in her life. She was so deeply fond of her. Gudrun’s children are very grateful for Laura’s friendship and for ANV for bringing them together, noting that was a blessing to help her stay independent. Gudrun wanted to stay in her own home—that was very important to her—and she did, thanks to Laura’s help and friendship.
When Laura started volunteering with ANV, she was motivated by the idea of helping others. “What I hadn’t expected was such a friendship. She brought something to my life that I didn’t have—I got as much from her as she did from me. It was such a gift to have that relationship.”
The last two years have been ruled by the coronavirus—it has affected all of us in one way or another. And while there has been much struggle and loss, we have also seen how a common crisis can bring us together. The way a beautiful friendship can be a light in dark times.
Thank you, Laura, for sharing your story with u.