The Power of Life, Love, and Friends

Liz Goodyear at 101 years old.Elizabeth Goodyear, who died last month at age 103, loved chocolate, champagne, and books. She enjoyed all three daily, until she became blind. Then, she regained the joy of books thanks to the generosity of strangers. Those strangers became friends and surrogate family. Ms. Goodyear’s moving story was told earlier this month in The New York Times.

It all began about seven years ago, after Alison West, a yoga instructor who lives in Ms. Goodyear’s building, posted a sign in yoga studios downtown seeking readers and sent an e-mail that was forwarded again and again.

“Liz has no family at all, and all her old friends have died, but she remains eternally positive and cheerful and loves to have people come by to read to her or talk about life, politics, travel — or anything else,” the message read. “She also loves good chocolate!”

Young women in their 20s, many of them Ms. West’s students, started to visit.

During these visits, the women learned about Ms. Goodyear’s remarkable life, they read to her, and shared chocolate and champagne. They sustained her, and she became a friend to them all.

Ms. Goodyear was lucky enough to be able to spend all of her days in her own home, a feat even more remarkable when you consider that she had no children and no immediate family. Her young neighbors and readers became her family, and at the end, she left them a legacy of caring and a life well-lived.

We all should be so fortunate as to have the opportunity to visit with an elderly person desperate for love, and, later, to have caring people in our lives to visit with us.

To read the full article in The New York Times, click here: “As 103-Year-Old Dies, Her Reading Circle Mourns”

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