Carol Silver Elliott

On our journey

Source: Jewish Home Family

It is said that people come into our lives “for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” And I believe that is true.  There are people who join us on particular parts of our journey at just the time that we need them and I would hope that we do the same for others.  Relationships ebb and flow over time, both based on circumstances as well as personalities.  Some of us are “rooters” who want to dig deep and hold onto people in our lives and some of us are more inclined to be more casual in our connections.  Neither is right or wrong, neither is good or bad, they just are.

I am, without question, someone who likes to put down those roots.  I may not have the same intimacy with friends I’ve had for decades and don’t see often, but I don’t want to let them go. I value even those annual holiday greetings and know that I could pick the phone or send an email and feel an instant renewal of our connection.  I am also profoundly grateful, especially as someone who has lost both parents and my only sibling, for those friends who have become truly family.

I value the importance of relationships at work as well.  Many friendships that started in the workplace have gone well beyond and become enduring, and important, in my life.  We talk about our workplace as being a family and we mean those words, through good times and challenging times.

Eve Renna became a part of my family when I joined the Jewish Home Family eight years ago.  A long-time member of our Finance team, Eve treated elders, their family members and our staff with unfailing warmth and unstinting kindness. Eve was a person who could be relied on. Always.  If the adult day center was holding an event and needed help, she was there.  She’d be a part of their special events and get many of their participants up and dancing.  If there was a need, Eve invariably responded.  Eve had a ready smile for all and a warm hug for many. Even when COVID reared its’ ugly head, Eve came to work and helped deliver meals to people in their rooms in the long term care setting, bringing caring along with the nourishment.

It was part of knowing Eve to know that she had fought cancer. And for a number of years she won that battle.  Even when cancer came calling again she fought it with everything she said.  She tried every option offered and she kept her attitude positive. She wanted to live and she was passionate about it, knowing and naming all the reasons that she needed to survive.

Even when it was clear that she was losing the war, Eve came to work every day. She did her work and she spread her special warmth throughout.  She made a point on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving of wishing people a good holiday and giving them hugs that may have lasted a moment longer than usual.  Did she know that her life was drawing to a close?  I think she did.  And, typical of Eve, she wanted to leave us all with the gift of that last, sweet goodbye.

I believe that Eve was with all of us for a reason, sharing love and care that knew no boundaries.  The hard part, of course, is that we wanted a lifetime and not a season. But we will hold her memory close and be grateful that she joined us, for as long as she did, on our journeys.

About the Author
Carol Silver Elliott is President and CEO of The Jewish Home Family, which runs NJ's Jewish Home at Rockleigh, Jewish Home Assisted Living, Jewish Home Foundation and Jewish Home at Home. She joined The Jewish Home Family in 2014. Previously, she served as President and CEO of Cedar Village Retirement Community in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is past chair of LeadingAge and the Association of Jewish Aging Services.
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