Olive Flaherty’s eyes glisten with moisture at the mention of her husband, Albert. This year, 2019, would have marked their 75th wedding anniversary, but Albert passed away in February. They moved to The Village of Humber Heights in the early part of 2017 so Olive could care for him with a little additional support from the Village Team. Albert struggled with a bad heart, you see, and he could barely get out of a chair by this point to walk on his own. At nearly 100 years old, however, these struggles didn’t come as much of a surprise.
Olive gently held his hand as he took his final breath, she says softly. As she recounts the loss, three quarters of a century of love in life swirl through her suite, and she smiles through the memories. She speaks of the little house they bought in Toronto after they were married in 1944; $3,800 went a long way in those days. Their family blossomed over the next ten years there as two sons and a daughter filled their home. They eventually moved to a larger house where the family grew through the passing of time; Olive cared for her parents in that home when their health began to fail, and she’s proud to have been there for them.
Her family remains a point of pride for Olive, and her suite is decorated with the legacy she and Albert created together: beautiful smiles of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren adorn the walls.
“We had a really good life together,” Olive says, clearly grateful she was able to share a lifetime with the person she loves so dearly. The last few years were hard, she admits, which is why they came to Humber Heights and the support of The Village means a lot to her. Since Albert’s passing, she’s found new life within The Village. She’s a social person – always has been – but Albert’s care needs often kept her close to the suite.
Now she’s everywhere.
To walk down Main Street with her is a lesson in congeniality. She greets everyone she sees with a smile and knows them all by name, team members and neighbours alike. People like to see her coming towards them, it seems, for her charm brightens their day.
She’s a regular in the exercise classes, loves the special events in The Village and sometimes simply like to sit in the sunshine in the leafy courtyard. She is the picture of contentment, though she misses Albert dearly. She finds comfort, however, in the relationships that have grown around her in The Village.
“I feel a part of the community here,” she says, “and that means a lot. This is my home now.”