‘We think of our villages as villages, but we really are a family,’ says Chris Poos
“It hit me hard,” says Chris Poos when he thinks back to the morning in early April when he was told his friend, Ty Bakti, would likely not live through the day. They’d seen each other the evening before, and things seemed normal, Chris recalls, but when illnesses compound, nothing is certain.
Ty died that Monday afternoon, and the depth of the relationship he and Chris developed over the past four years comes flooding back in emotion as Chris reflects on their time together.
“We think of our villages as villages, but really, they’re families,” Chris says. “Ty was like a brother.”
As the director of recreation at The Village of Tansley Woods, Chris is in a position where it’s easy to build strong relationships with so many of the people who make their home in the village. With Ty, however, the bond formed a little deeper. They shared a love of sport and music, and Chris says Ty was one of those people who shared in successes and challenges equally, just as any good friend would.
Ty could tell when Chris was facing a tough time, and they could talk it through. When Chris’s son was born, Ty was one of the first people to meet him; Chris remembers watching tears well in his friend’s eyes as he held a baby of only two weeks. When it was time to host a party – especially for the Grey cup or Super Bowl – Ty was right alongside Chris for the preparations.
And Chris was there for Ty. He was relatively young compared to many of his neighbours when he first moved into the village, and various illnesses had taken a great toll on his body and his emotional state. Chris found a way through the depression Ty faced with music, taking a spin off the Music and Memory Program, which provides personalized music to people living with memory loss.
That was one of their first connections, and there were many more.
“I wouldn’t be in the position I am now if it weren’t for the experiences that I had with Ty,” Chris says. “Each one of our residents impacts us in such a dramatic way, and I’m a better person for knowing him.”
Ty’s funeral service was held at the village, and Chris was honoured to organize the event and speak about their time together. He smiles when he says Ty remained the host of the party, even in his funeral celebration. “The bar was open and I could imagine him looking down with a drink in his hand, just smiling.”
In many ways, people are taught that working life and personal life should remain detached but Chris says that’s impossible in the world he lives in. “Our villages create a place where our business – our love and care for our residents – and what we do outside are actually one,” he says. “We really are a family.”