By Sherri Easdon
Marie Nageotte was born in the 1930s and grew up in Meadville, Pennsylvania, a small town in the northwest corner of the state. Her best friend Roslyn had a boyfriend from Erie, and the young couple set Marie up on a blind date with his best friend, Don Robie. The two couples ended up getting married, and enjoyed a long friendship, getting together at least once a year even when Marie was diagnosed with MS while her three children were teenagers. However, with failing health it became more difficult to travel. The couples stopped their annual pilgrimages to see each other about 15 years ago.
After enjoying 60 years of marriage, Don passed away in 2017, and Marie slipped into a state that left her dispirited and downcast as she was placed into a nursing home in a different state. Marie’s children moved her to Wesley Place on Honeysuckle in Dothan, Alabama, to be near her daughter, Cheryl Tarrant. It was there that the family found much, much more than they bargained for. They found their mother again!
“After dad died, she had to be put in a nursing home,” Cheryl disclosed. “We chose Wesley Place and that completely changed her life.”
Cheryl said that her mother came to Wesley Place on Honeysuckle despondent, but in a short time, under the care of the nursing staff, she became happy again.
“She’s a completely different person,” Cheryl mused. “We don’t recognize her from before she went to Wesley Place.”
The retirement community staff believes that meeting Marie’s physical needs as well as her social and emotional needs has breathed new life into Marie, allowing her the freedom to be herself, despite her MS. Marie is enjoying life as a contributing member of the nursing home’s community. Some of her favorite pastimes include conversations with friends and family, listening to singing, taking walks, and watching the aviary birds in the sunroom.
Cheryl recently helped arrange a surprise to bring her mother and her long-time friend Roslyn back together in person once again. Roslyn’s daughter, Cindy Coe, contacted Cheryl about the idea and the two daughters conspired to surprise them both for Marie’s 84th birthday party at Wesley Place on Honeysuckle. The joyous reunion was caught on camera by a local Dothan TV station WTVY as well as featured in print on the front page of a popular local paper, The Dothan Eagle.
Cheryl describes her impressions after making the happy reunion possible. “I’m speechless, really. So joyful,” she said. “Both ladies were just so surprised. Joy is all you can say. It was incredible.”
Another big bonus for Cheryl that has come out of the birthday reunion was reconnecting with Roslyn’s daughter Cindy.
“Her daughter and I have become really good friends through setting this up,” Cheryl said. “I remember her as a kid, but that was 50 years ago. So now she and I have become like great friends after putting this together for our mothers.”
Editor’s Note: This article was republished with permission from Wesley Place on Honeysuckle. Sherri Easdon is Director of Public Relations for Methodist Homes of Alabama & Northwest Florida.