An elderly lady in hospice slowly opened her eyes and laid them on a girl she had never seen before, reaching out to hold her hand -- the very hand that had helped her feel less alone through the years.
Desperate to see her unlikely companion in hospice before she passed, Keslar, a freshman from Virginia, took a plane to New York.
She and her confidante 92-year-old Jean Peck formed a beautiful and close-knit friendship over the space of two years but strangely had never met before -- both having lived in different states.
Keslar sitting next to Jean Peck’s bedside and holding her hand. | Source: youtube.com/Good Morning America
KICKING IT OLD SCHOOL
Of course, this is less than surprising with the advent of social media, but in this duo's case, their friendship blossomed via the stroke of a pen. The teenager said:
"We wrote pretty religiously. We had a lot to talk about."
Keslar found her pen pal amid pandemic isolation, writing over 100 letters to seniors stuck in nursing homes as her way of trying to soften this COVID-19 blow. The 92-year-old was the only one to respond.
Peck's relatives let the pen pal know that the elderly lady was not responding to anyone from her hospice bed. But, they were shocked as Peck held her hand when her dear young friend approached. Keslar stated:
"I started talking with her, and she slowly opened her eyes and became responsive, and I just sat and talked with her."
Peck has since passed away. Keslar, nevertheless, said she would remain in her memory forever -- a testament that no matter the age or circumstances, one can always find a way to create unforgettable bonds.
AGE IS JUST A NUMBER
As we can gather, the pandemic has been a time of disconnection and yet strangely and simultaneously a time where genuine relationships began to blossom. Another elderly woman and widow, Mary O'Neill, founded a beautiful friendship with a little boy.
Specifically, a 2-year-old boy next door, Benjamin Olson. Both stuck in their houses; they began to form a friendship from either side of the fence, playing multiple games together.
Their favorite interaction was the one they invented, called "cane ball" -- the young boy would kick his ball towards O'Neill, who would hit it right back to him with her cane over the fence.
Benjamin would gift his new best friend with rocks and sand to show her his affection. The 99-year-old also had presents for the little one, giving him toy trucks that belonged to her late son.
When we search for companionship, we usually look to someone who has many similarities to us. This can range from age, gender, educational background, class level, and so much more.
But, some of the most surprising and beautiful bonds can be born out of seeking connections with those outside our usual circles -- introducing us to new experiences and sometimes even new parts of ourselves.